Tom Bristow, Reporter
Monday, July 23, 2012
Speedway could make a comeback to Norwich with proposals being drawn up for a stadium at the Norfolk showground.
The Norwich Evening News understands the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) has been in discussions for several months with a tenant who wants to build a track at the eastern edge of the showground at the former driving range, near the Costessey Park and Ride.
It would include a track, pits and stands.
Five times world champion and Norwich Stars favourite Ove Fundin, the Flying Fox from Sweden, is expected to return to Norwich from his home in the south of France this week.
Former Norwich Lord Mayor and sports champion for Norwich City Council Roy Blower, who is backing the proposals, said: “Ove Fundin is returning this week to be part of an important announcement on Thursday.”
The Flying Fox drew crowds of thousands when speedway was at is peak in the city at the Firs stadium.
The new stadium would be built on land leased by the RNAA, but no speedway races would take place if there was another event at the showground.
Speedway meets would take place on Saturday nights from 7.30pm to 10pm.
To measure possible increases in traffic from a speedway track, engineers Richard Jackson were asked by the developers to survey Peterborough speedway on March 19.
They found around 743 vehicles arriving for the meet.
In a letter to the Highway Agency in Bedford and Norfolk County Council, the engineers argued the impact on the busy Longwater Lane junction by the showground would be “negligible”.
But Norfolk County councillor for Costessey, Tim East, said, while he was a fan of speedway as a spectator, the location for this track was “completely inappropriate”.
He said the junction was already at capacity, and he would “implacably” oppose any speedway plans.
He said: “There are huge tailbacks, gridlock and congestion generated now, without this additional speedway traffic adversely impacting on and obstructing this area.
“The speedway event will generate noise, nuisance and disturbance not only on speedway nights, but also on training nights.”
A housing development at Lodge Farm is also supposed to extend to the edge of the land opposite the showground.
A spokesman for the RNAA said: “This idea is currently at a very early stage.
“A feasibility study is being carried out before any decision can be made on whether a proposal will put forward.”
Former RNAA show director Gavin Alston was approached by a consortium to build a speedway track in the grand ring in the mid 1980s, but the plans proved unsuccessful.
What do you think of the proposals? Write to us at Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email email@example.com.