Dogs sta­dium homes plan set for green light


Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS SLATER [email protected] @ChrisSlate­rMEN

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

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