Northampton

Rockingham Motor Speedway: Crime concerns over new plans

Rockingham Motor Speedway Image copyright Robert Laberge / Getty Images
Image caption The venue has hosted up to 52,000 fans and cost £45m to build

A former motor racing track could become a crime hotspot if plans for a car storage facility go ahead without more security, according to police.

The automotive business is planned for Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire, after the track held its final race in November.

But Northamptonshire Police said the current fencing was not adequate, and would not stop cars being stolen.

DLP Planning Ltd said it would continue to work "pro-actively" with police.

East Northamptonshire Council officers have recommended councillors approve the plans at a meeting on 9 January.

The application by the track's new owners Rockingham Automotive Limited, who took over in August, would see a change of use from car parking to automotive logistics, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image caption A so-called "super send-off" for Rockingham took place in November with a final day of racing at the circuit for various race classifications

The track opened in 2001 at a cost of £45m and once hosted the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) and British GT. But when it closed in November, its chief executive said it was "a very hard business to sustain".

Existing tenants City Auction Group revealed plans last year for a £1m investment in its operations to turn the site into the largest automotive and logistics site in the region.

The company deals with former fleet and lease hire vehicles which it "remarkets" to be sold on.

In a statement sent to councillors ahead of the meeting, Northamptonshire Police said: "We have serious concerns that the applications may not [comply] with the principles of crime prevention.

"The north of Northamptonshire has over the years been the location for numerous vehicle storage and association businesses, most of which have suffered at times from costly crimes to the businesses involved and Northamptonshire Police."

Image copyright Robert Laberge / Getty Images
Image caption The Speedway once hosted the likes of the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) and British GT

The force has recommended that additional physical and procedural measures are agreed in writing.

The track's planning consultants DLP Planning Ltd said: "There is broad support for our plans due to the permanent job opportunities that will be created.

"Specifically regarding security, the whole site is fenced with high grade palisade fencing. It is intended to improve security arrangements as part of the plans at the two main entrances which will deal with concerns raised by the police.

"To this end a number of security measures have been agreed during the application process and it is our intention to continue working pro-actively with the police service in the interests of crime prevention."

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