After more than 15 months of delays, Stadia UK has announced the final phase of detailed planning for redevelopment of its Speedway and Greyhound Racing arena at Blunsdon.
The reserve matters application now proposes the new stadium be developed on the site of the existing stadium, retaining the position of the existing race tracks.
The change in location and orientation of the new arena from the initial plan has resulted from the redesign of the Abbey Meads scheme and serves to improve the integration of the arena in terms of public access and most importantly site drainage.
Whilst the new stadium is being developed in the location of the existing stadium, it is completely new with only the existing racing surfaces being retained in part.
The Speedway and Greyhound race tracks are being shortened to improve racing and are being fitted with new lighting and a new safety fence designed to provide the ultimate media coverage and viewing experience.
The entire arena complex is surrounded by a 3.Sm wooden and landscaped noise attenuation and security fence, enhancing the visual appearance of the Stadium and providing high levels of noise attenuation for the surrounding environment.
The focal point of the complex will be the new customer and racing facility. The 2 level multifunctional building will accommodate over 700 customers and provide balcony viewing over the race tracks together with a new racing kennels complex, new speedway pits and changing rooms, a youth training facility, lecture rooms, offices and a combined community/customer cafe and bar.
Clarke Osborne, Chairman of stadium owners, Gaming International said,
"This has been a hugely frustrating and expensive year for us in Swindon, with the ongoing delays surrounding the site wide drainage design, whilst our new customer and racing facilities sat waiting in a car park in South Wales.
“However, out of this adversity has come an improved design which will maintain excellent orientation with the Abbey Meads development and most importantly, will allow us to work at speed in delivering what will be a fantastic speedway and greyhound racing facility for Swindon.
“The new location and design will provide for enhanced links with the local community, providing recreational facilities in walking and cycling distance. This, together with the open market and major entertainment/exhibition space will ensure regular year-round use of the stadium.
“The exercise of building whilst operating internationally broadcast greyhound racing at the highest level presents logistical and organisational challenges but our carefully designed programme will see the stadium out of action for a maximum of two weeks.
“We are ready to start work as soon as we receive the green light and have a realistic programme to have the Robins racing on their new track this season.
“Our commitment from the outset of this project is to ensure continuity of speedway and greyhound racing and this remains. It is logistically challenging and will involve some disruption for our greyhound owners, trainers and customers, but it will be worth it as we produce what I hope will be the best race track and greyhound welfare facilities in the UK.
“More detail of our plans and programme will flow in the months to come , but for now I would like to thank our team and the Swindon BC officers for their hard work and dedication to find and perfect the design solutions and to our greyhound racing owners and trainers and to our greyhound and speedway racing customers for their patience."
Terry Russell, Chairman of the 2017 Champion Speedway Team, the Swindon Robins said; "Good positive news at last. The Robins were the top speedway team in the UK in 2017 and we are ready for our new Stadium. My thanks to all the team at Gaming International for their hard work and determination and my sincere thanks to the thousands of Speedway supporters for their patience. More winning speedway next season - can't wait!"