Manchester

Belle Vue: Greyhound and speedway arena demolition passed

Belle Vue Stadium
Image caption The Belle Vue Stadium is home to greyhound and stock car racing

Plans to demolish Manchester's Belle Vue greyhound track and replace it with almost 250 homes have been approved.

The proposals to replace the track, built in 1926 and also home to stock car racing, with houses and flats were backed by Manchester City Council.

A greyhound protection group, which gathered a petition calling for the stadium's demolition, said it was "overwhelmed" with the result.

A stock car racing event promoter said he was "disappointed" and would appeal.

Image copyright Countryside Properties (UK)
Image caption Around 250 homes are planned for the site

The planning application saw 561 letters of objection and 756 letters of support sent to the council.

Two local councillors objected because of traffic congestion on Hyde Road and there being no plans for additional infrastructure, such as GP surgeries.

Rita James, chief executive of Caged Nationwide, which campaigns for the welfare of greyhounds, welcomed Thursday's decision, adding: "We now need to ensure that dogs who are surplus are sent safely to rescue."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The stadium opened in 1926 and this photograph was taken there in 1927

The planning application for homes was submitted a year ago. The stadium was declared an asset of community value last year and campaigners who want to save it claim this was not taken into account.

Steve Reece, stock car racing event promoter at Belle Vue, said the stadium was "irreplaceable".

"This was the first ever greyhound stadium in the UK and it was built in 1926," he said.

Mr Reece said the stadium was viable and added: "We will fight on, we don't see this as over."

The stadium is the last greyhound racing track in Greater Manchester as the venues in Salford, White City in Trafford and Bolton have been demolished.

Arena Racing Company, which runs the greyhound racing, was unavailable for comment.

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