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The proposals for the News Firs Stadium and the return of speedway to Norwich were announced in July by (l to r) former speedway star Ove Fundin, promoter Steve Ribbons, Louise Wilkinson from the show ground and ambassador Roy Blower. Photo by Simon Finlay.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Councillors last night rejected the idea of hosting speedway at the Norfolk Showground, as promoters attempt to bring the sport back to Norwich.
The vote came two months after a company called New Firs Ltd put forward plans to build a track at the eastern edge of the showground, by the former golf driving range.
Parish councillors voted by three votes to one against the principle of having the motorsport in Costessey.
The vote was suggested by councillor Tim East who opposes speedway at the site.
At Costessey Parish Council last night he called for a vote on whether councillors supported or opposed the principle of having speedway at the showground.
Mr East’s rejection was backed by two other councillors, with six councillors abstaining.
Katy Smith, one of the councillors to abstain, said there was not enough information about the track to make a decision yet.
Vice chairman of the council John Amis was the only one to vote for the track.
He said: “I’m in favour of speedway. On a Saturday night there is no traffic.”
Those opposing speedway at the meeting said the new track would increase traffic at the Longwater junction with the A47 and create extra noise, particularly for families moving into new homes planned at Lodge Farm which is opposite the site.
Councillor Reg Piesse said: “This activity is very noisy.
“I’m very concerned about the new development on Lodge Farm.”
But supporters argued the bikes would be far quieter than people believe and there would not be a noticeable increase in traffic at the Longwater junction.
The proposals have sparked fierce debate in Costessey with groups springing up for and against speedway on social networking site Facebook.
Promoters are still to apply for planning permission for the track, but unveiled their initial plans in July at the showground at an event attended by Norwich speedway legend Ove Fundin.
New Firs Ltd hopes to submit plans for a 480-seater stadium, heralding the return of speedway to Norwich for the first time since 1964.
If the plans are approved by South Norfolk Council, racing could be back at the track by the end of 2013.
•Do you have a story about Costessey for the Evening News? Contact reporter Tom Bristow on 01603772313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.