Stadium work won’t halt speedway races
Updated 9:38am Tuesday 1st April 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
THE owners of the Abbey Stadium have moved to ease fans’ fears that Speedway racing will be stopped for a year while the new site is built.
Gaming International have said the final stages of plans are being put together, meaning the Robins could be moving into a brand new state-of-the-art stadium within two seasons.
Planning permission has been given for the new stadium, which will be built alongside the current Abbey Stadium so there will be no interruption for either the team or the dog racing.
The final details around the construction are being ironed out, including how builders will access the site, with work potentially starting in September.
It is believed building will take around a year to complete meaning there is a possibility of the new site being open towards the end of the 2015 season.
Clarke Osbourne, the chief executive of Gaming International, said once the new stadium is built it will be operational almost immediately.
He said: “We are planning on a transfer into the new stadium of about seven days.
The new stadium will be built before the old one is knocked down so there will be minimal disruption.
“I would expect the work to start later this year, probably towards the end of summer. It should take around 12 months to complete so really as far as Speedway fans are concerned the move will take place in about two seasons.”
The new stadium has also been designed to ensure that it will be attractive to television companies with the hope of making it the destination of choice for Great Britain meetings.
“We have specifically designed camera stations which offer a clear view of the track and there will be an interview area,” said Mr Osbourne.
“Potential obstructions, such as lighting, will be built outside the stadium. Swindon already has an international reputation for Speedway so the new stadium will enhance that.
“If we can bring the costs down for broadcasters then hopefully they are more likely to choose Swindon.
We are all excited about these plans and the future is looking positive.”
The stadium is part of a larger project which will see several hundred houses built on the surrounding land and it is expected work will start in the coming weeks.
As well as the stadium, the Blunsdon Market will also be retained and moved into the new site, a move which has been welcomed by the town’s MPs.
Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson said: “This is exciting news for North Swindon and Speedway fans.
“We have fought for many years for this and it is going to be an unbelievable boost for the Swindon Robins as their new home will be state-of-the-art.
“It will help to lift the whole area with improved facilities and especially the much-loved Blunsdon Market. With all the work that has been done, it is great to see it all coming into fruition.”
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