Council set to step into battle over future of speedway in Peterborough

Peterborough Panthers hopes to return to racing in the city in 2025.
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Peterborough City Council Leader Mohammed Farooq is set to meet with the current owners of the Peterborough Panthers speedway team to discuss the club’s future.

The city’s speedway side is currently homeless and will not be racing in the 2024 season after being evicted from its home since 1970, the city’s Showground.

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Land agents AEPG has told the club that it has no future at the site even if planning applications for 650 and 850 new homes, along with a leisure village, are rejected.

The speedway track at the Showground, Peterborough City Council leader Mohammed Farooq (inset).The speedway track at the Showground, Peterborough City Council leader Mohammed Farooq (inset).
The speedway track at the Showground, Peterborough City Council leader Mohammed Farooq (inset).
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Ahead of Wednesday’s (December 6) full council meeting, Orton Waterville councillor Julie Stevenson had moved a motion that, if passed, would compel the council to set a meeting to discover if there is any way the council can help to keep the sport of speedway alive in Peterborough.

Although the motion was not discussed for procedural reasons, the Peterborough Telegraph understands that the new council leader has still agreed undertake the resolutions of the motion.

A six-member consortium is attempting to take over the club with the aim of restoring racing at the Showground in 2025.

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Mick Bratley, a member of the consortium also attended the meeting to ask a question of Cabinet Member for Housing, Growth and Regeneration, Cllr Peter Hiller.

While Cllr Hiller was reluctant to speak on the currently pending planning applications, he did offer the council’s support to the club.

He said: “If validated, you will of course have the opportunity to comment to planners on any planning application pertaining to the Showground also if indeed these potential outline applications are put before our planning committee you will also have the further opportunity to make public representation to the members of that committee before any decisions are made.

"Leading on from that, I have huge sympathy for both yourself and any interested parties in the Speedway facility, I myself in a former life was very keen on Speedway from the Thames Valley area, if there is anything that we are able to do to facilitate the continuation of a speedway facility then I am sure the current leader Councillor Farooq will be very keen to be involved as I would myself.

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In response to the question of how will the city provide cultural, sporting and other outdoor activities in the wake of the showground development, Cllr Hiller added: “This council is committed to supporting our partners to deliver events in Peterborough and we continue to extend the use of council land to help facilitate this; for example we accommodated 45 public events in the last quarter including the Bridge Fair, The Great Eastern Run and The Beer Festival.

"The Embankment and Cathedral Square provide excellent opportunities to expand this further and we are keen to speak with potential promoters about future offerings to the benefit of our city.

"This council is also a founding member of The Peterborough Cultural Alliance which brings together our cultural, heritage and arts for all organisations and which is developing a delivery plan of activities and events for the coming years.

“To support this further an arts council England funding application has been submitted which if successful will allow us to further build on plans for the long term and ensure residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the very best that this city has to offer.”

At present, the track shale, inflatable barriers, wooden fence, lights and portacabins have been removed from the track but this has been done by current owner Keith Chapman.