Sport­ing Scene

Sup­port­ers ap­peal to Boris John­son to save short oval venue from foot­ball sta­dium de­vel­op­ment

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - Pho­tos: Chris Berry, Dun­can Stephens and Colin Casser­ley By Matt James

A group of short oval en­thu­si­asts will ask Lon­don mayor Boris John­son to ex­am­ine the plan­ning de­ci­sion to al­low de­vel­op­ers to pull down Wim­ble­don Sta­dium to make way for a foot­ball ground af­ter thou­sands of fans backed an on­line pe­ti­tion.

Per­mis­sion was granted in early De­cem­ber for Gal­liard Homes to re­de­velop the Plough Lane site into an 11,000 all-seater foot­ball arena for AFC Wim­ble­don. How­ever, lo­cal short oval racer Peter Gray and sta­dium sup­porter Michael Bur­nage MBE have started a cam­paign to raise aware­ness of the im­pact the loss would have to the short oval rac­ing scene.

The venue has hosted short oval rac­ing since 1962 and has an es­tab­lished fol­low­ing in the grey­hound rac­ing com­mu­nity. An on­line pe­ti­tion has al­ready gained over 7500 sig­na­tures, in­clud­ing ex-grand prix driver and Bri­tish Rac­ing Driv­ers’ Club pres­i­dent Derek War­wick, who won the 1973 Stock Car World Cham­pi­onship at the venue.

A del­e­ga­tion will meet lo­cal MP Stephen Ham­mond to­day (Wed­nes­day) and they are hop­ing to take their cam­paign to the mayor in the fu­ture. Sup­port­ers have been in touch with the mayor’s of­fice.

“Since the pe­ti­tion was in­sti­gated, the sup­port has been phe­nom­e­nal and helped the pe­ti­tion col­lect thou­sands of sig­na­tures,” said Gray. “With the help of so­cial me­dia such as Face­book and Twit­ter, oval rac­ing fans have been joined by grey­hound rac­ing sup­port­ers and lo­cal res­i­dents alike in their ef­forts to raise aware­ness to Lon­don mayor, Boris John­son, who has the fi­nal say with re­gards to grant­ing fi­nal plan­ning per­mis­sion.”

To sign, visit change.org/p/borisjohn­son-save-wim­ble­don-sta­di­um­from-de­mo­li­tion-save-oval-racin­gin-lon­don.

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