WIM­BLE­DON OVAL TO SHUT DOWN

Cam­paign­ers fail in bid to save his­toric mo­tor­sport arena from de­vel­op­ers’ bull­doz­ers

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene -

Short oval rac­ing will stop at Wim­ble­don sta­dium next sea­son as de­vel­op­ers are on the cusp of get­ting the green light to turn the venue into a foot­ball arena.

The race track was opened in 1962 and has hosted stock car rac­ing ev­ery year since then.

Ini­tial plans to re­de­velop the site into an 11000 all-seater sta­dium for AFC Wim­ble­don were called in for in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the for­mer mayor of London Boris Johnson but, with the change of lead­er­ship in the cap­i­tal, that in­quiry has been scrapped.

Michael Bur­nage MBE, a lead­ing cam­paigner, said: “Right from the start the odds have been against us as we op­posed a foot­ball league club, a huge hous­ing de­vel­oper and a lo­cal coun­cil. The an­nounce­ment is a huge dis­ap­point­ment to us all, but in a week that sees the an­niver­sary of the first ever meet­ing at the venue in 1962, there is a lot to cel­e­brate.

“With the sup­port of thou­sands of oval rac­ing fans, we have chal­lenged the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion at ev­ery turn, and at­tempted to high­light the very real flaws in the sub­mis­sion.

“Our ac­tions led to the plans ini­tially be­ing re­viewed by for­mer mayor Boris Johnson, which in turn meant that we have been able to se­cure a min­i­mum of six fur­ther months rac­ing in the cap­i­tal at the venue. On Sun­day we re­turn for what prom­ises to be a sea­son full of top mo­tor sport ac­tion that will in­clude some spe­cial events to mark the sea­son.”

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