Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Speedway controversy

An application to vary the conditions for the Speedway at the Greyhound Stadium has caused some controversy in the neighbourhood.

Amongst other things the application asks for eight additional Sundays, including four bank holiday weekends. It also asks for the removal of the requirement for noise monitoring that was placed on the organisers.

Speedway was given a two year temporary permission until September 2009. The application has been useful because it has enabled residents to be consulted on their experience of the first season - and, unfortunately, many are not happy at all.

It was hoped that the new speedway format would see less noise impact, especially as there are now developments closer to the stadium than there were originally, such as Nash Square and the UCE (sorry, Birmingham City University) halls of residence.

As well as letters we have received visits at our advice bureaux from groups of residents and have also had some telephone calls.

The following are some of the comments I have submitted to planning on this matter.

Jon Hunt

"Further to my initial comments on this application I would like to reiterate my concern.
I will be forwarding to you today a number of letters I have received from local residents, five objecting to the variation and one supporting it. I understand that a number of petitions have been submitted through a colleague...
In terms of the detail of the application I object to the removal of the requirement for noise monitoring.
I have received some explanation from Speedway of the reasons for the application and hope to discuss this with them more in the near future.
However I am concerned that there should be no extension of the time during which noise from the event may be experienced in the neighbourhood. There should also be no increase in the number of Sundays on which events are held.
The consultation on this application has raised real issues in the neighbourhood about the impact of speedway. Prior to the original application there was of course no experience of the event in its current form. Given that much of this summer was wet and rainy this is quite disappointing and suggests a long dry summer might cause significantly more problems..
An example of comments from residents is: "Although I expected some noise..I was totally unprepared for the sheer volume that would be produced" (400 yds from stadium)
I hope the result of this consultation might be to provoke further work to address and resolve these issues.
Councillor Jon Hunt"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a local resident of Perry Barr and I HAVE actually read the planning proposal, unlike many objecting neighbours. I am aware of someone employed by UCE who is trying to stir up ill feeling amongst residents by spreading around false versions of what the planning application is asking for.

As I see it, there is no change to the total number of speedway meetings that will be staged in a season, which remains at 31. all that is being asked for is the flexibility for a rained off Wednesday match to be restaged on a Sunday.

The current Planning consent allows for two Sunday meetings in a season. THere are not 4 ADDITIONAL bank holiday Sundays between Easter and October in the calendar, so how residents use this as an objection is hard to comprehend.

There is nothing in the application asking for racing to extend beyond 10pm. All that is being asked for is more flexibility in how many races are run in the time before 10pm. The current planning consent allows for 15 races, but if, due to accident a race needs to be rerun, it could count for an extra race in the strictest definition of the terms. Sticking to the letter of current restrictions would mean that meetings could not be completed, making a nonsense of the situation.

The current terms annd conditions of the Planning Consent state that Speedway is to be run at the stadium, and no other sports. How silly, as the strict reading of this means that greyhound racing is not allowed. Obviously this needs changing.

Another anomoly is that the current restrictions require the stadium to be empty by 10.30pm which well before the bar is licenced to be open til (11.30pm). This is a nonsense and no good for business, and is the subject of another requested amendment.

A year ago, the Environmental Dept. produced a report to the Planning Dept saying that 86,000 residents would be affected by the noise of the Speedway. Out of this population group, a handful of letters and two family sized petitions of protest are an extremely insignifican percentage and in absolute terms they are dwarfed by the size of the membership of the Birmingham Speedway Supporters Club, and the number of attendees at meetings on a weekly basis throughout the season. In a democracy, the number of voices in favour have to be taken into account too!