Dogs stadium homes plan set for green light
COUNCIL OFFICERS SAY ARENA SHOULD BE DEMOLISHED TO BUILD HUNDREDS OF HOUSES AND FLATS
A PLAN to demolish Manchester’s historic Belle Vue greyhound racing stadium and replace it with houses and flats has been recommended for approval.
The stadium on Kirkmanshulme Lane in Gorton was the first purposebuilt dog racing track in the country when it opened in 1926.
It is understood a five-year deal which saw owners Crown Oil Pensions Fund lease the site – which still hosts dog and stock car racing events – to the Greyhound Racing Association expired last year.
Plans to flatten it and build 247 new homes were first revealed by the M.E.N. last summer and have become the subject of a bitter battle between campaigners.
The application by Countryside Properties for 167 two, three and four-bedroom houses and 80 one and two-bed apartments is set to go before the town hall planning committee on Thursday.
It has been minded for approval by officers as long as the developers commit to offer 35 of the planned homes, 14 per cent, as affordable.
The final decision will be taken by 15-strong council committee.
The debate over the planning application regarding a corner of east Manchester has spread across the world, it has emerged.
Manchester council received more than 1,300 letters and responses, their application report reveals, 756 in favour, and some of which came from as far afield as Argentina, Australia, the USA, Canada, Macau, India, Singapore and seven European countries.
Many of these derided the sport as ‘cruel’ and say ‘there is no place for greyhound racing any more.’
Animal rights campaigners have been campaigning for Belle Vue to close for years and they hold regular demonstrations outside the stadium on race days.
Other supporters of the plan described the stadium as an ‘eyesore’ and said it encouraged gambling in one of the city’s most deprived areas, adding Manchester is ‘crying out’ for more housing.
Objectors battling to save it have said is still a ‘successful and popular’ venue and is a historic part of the once legendary Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and leisure park.
They said its loss would badly affect local businesses and the community.
The Friends of Belle Vue Stadium added the timing of the application meant ‘those employed at the stadium or whose livelihoods are intrinsically linked to its operation have had their Christmas ruined by the applicant.’
An online petition by the Save Belle Vue Stadium Action Group has gained nearly 13,000 signatures.
Local councillors have also expressed concerns over the effect of extra traffic on Hyde Road and that there are no plans for additional local infrastructure such as GP surgeries and school places.
Council officers recommend the demolition of Belle Vue greyhound stadium