WIM­BLE­DON FACES WAIT ON ITS FU­TURE

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene - By Matt James Photo: mkpics.net

Cam­paign­ers be­hind the fight to save Wim­ble­don Sta­dium from de­mo­li­tion are fac­ing an ag­o­nis­ing wait as po­lit­i­cal changes have stymied their cam­paign to keep the short oval race track open.

Plans were ap­proved in De­cem­ber 2015 for AFC Wim­ble­don’s new 11,000 all-seater sta­dium on the Plough Lane site, which would mean the end of rac­ing at the fa­mous track, which was opened in 1962.

Cam­paign­ers, led by Peter Gray and Michael Bur­nage, were part of a group that helped put the brakes on the scheme and per­suaded then­mayor, Con­ser­va­tive Boris John­son to call in the plans. John­son said that his of­fice would de­cide the out­come.

Since then, Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has been elected and has yet to com­ment on the is­sue. “There is a state of limbo at the mo­ment,” said Bur­nage. “Mayor Khan was elected in May and there has been no in­di­ca­tion as to what is go­ing on. I un­der­stand that there are many pri­or­i­ties in Lon­don to sort out. I hope that Mayor Khan will look in to the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing our cam­paign and we will get a fair hear­ing.

“Our pas­sion, com­mit­ment and high lev­els of or­gan­i­sa­tion took our op­po­nents by sur­prise.

“They un­der­es­ti­mated our drive and abil­i­ties. This time they won’t be so quick to dis­miss us as in­signif­i­cant and unim­por­tant. The prob­lem comes for us that with higher stakes, we will need fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the pro­mot­ers and the sport’s gov­ern­ing body to help us de­fend our cor­ner on a level play­ing field. Are we up for tak­ing the fight to the next level? With the cor­rect level of sup­port yes we are...”

Short oval rac­ing pro­moter Spede­worth has or­gan­ised a ros­ter of races at the south west Lon­don venue which run through the rest of the sea­son and through to New Year’s Day in 2017.

Spede­worth plans to make the sea­son-open­ing meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 2 a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion event to ac­knowl­edge that rac­ing is still con­tin­u­ing at the venue.

Fa­mous sta­dium’s fu­ture is in limbo

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