Wiltshire

Swindon's speedway and greyhound stadium near approval

Abbey Stadium in Swindon Image copyright Vieve Forward
Image caption The new stadium will now be built on the site of the existing facility while the racing season continues

Owners of a speedway and greyhound stadium in Wiltshire have proposed to build a planned replacement arena on its existing site.

Last year, it was announced Swindon's Abbey Stadium would be replaced, built alongside the current facility.

But the £6m plans were beset with problems, including drainage issues, leading developers to move the proposals to use the existing site.

If agreed, work is hoped to be complete by the end of the summer.

The stadium, in Blunsdon St Andrew, is home to 2017 speedway Premiership winners Swindon Robins, who have home fixtures arranged from March until the end of August.

'Huge relief'

The reserve matters application on the proposal still needs to be agreed by Swindon Borough Council but owner Gaming International and its subsidiary, Stadia UK, said they were "in the final phase of detailed planning".

Gaming International chairman Clarke Osborne, said the exercise of building while operating racing presented "logistical and organisational challenges" but the stadium would only be out of action for "a maximum two weeks".

He said: "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."

Speedway team chairman Terry Russell said it was "good, positive news at last".

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson called the delays "frustrating" and said it was a "huge relief" the final issues had been addressed.

Efforts to build a new stadium have been continuing for more than a decade, with planning applications dating back to 2007.

The latest plans include shortened racing tracks and a new two-level customer and racing facility with a balcony, kennels and speedway pits.

The prefabricated building, built in Port Talbot, has been ready for delivery since last summer.

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