Showground developer warns Peterborough speedway fans against 'false hope' of returning to racing at the venue
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Agents behind the redevelopment of the Showground have wished fans the Peterborough Panthers well in the future but have told the club that its future will not be at the Showground.
AEPG, who are the agents of the Showground’s owners, the charity East of England Agricultural Society, tasked with delivering the redevelopment of the site, have said that fans should not harbour “false hope” that racing will return to the venue.
The message comes after fans of the club and the consortium seeking to restore racing to the venue in 2025 held a rally in Cathedral Square on Saturday.
The Panthers, who were national champions as recently as 2021, have been evicted from their home of 53 years following plans to transform the site. Two separate applications, one for 650 new homes and another for 850 new homes as well as a hotel, school and leisure village have bene submitted to the city council.
At present, almost 2000 objections have been submitted to these proposals.
A spokesperson for AEPG said: “We admire the Panthers fans for their dedication to the club, but it would be wrong of us to foster any false hope that there is a future at the showground for a speedway track.
"We sincerely hope the Peterborough Panthers find a new home for the 2024 season and beyond and wish them well with their endeavours.”
AEPG has stated that speedway can not happen on the site in 2024 as the land needs to be clear of commercial operations or agreements in preparation for the sale of the land. In addition, that the losses borne by speedway using the site should and cannot be sustained by a charity.
The agents also added that: “The costs involved in running the site and maintaining the grandstand for the sole purpose of Speedway are non-viable for the landowner and the site operator.
“There are a range of associated costs including insurances, maintenance and utilities which would be cost prohibitive. EEAS has borne the losses for over 20 years, which was a key factor in the decision-making process to sell the land.”
AEPG made the further claims in a statement released following “the amount of incorrect information currently circulating in the media and on socials.”
When asked by the Peterborough Telegraph for specific examples of information that has been reported incorrectly, AEPG did not respond.
The statement said: “To be clear, the decision not to renew the arrangement for running speedway meets would remain, irrespective of any planning applications on the land.
"We have had email exchanges with the proposed Peterborough Panthers consortium in which we have made it very clear the continuing of speedway will not go forward at the showground and EEAS/AEPG have no obligation to source or fund an alternative venue.
“We can confirm we did receive requests to meet with members of the proposed consortium, but given the foregoing, this wouldn’t have been a fruitful use of time for either party as there is simply no negotiation on this matter.
“Significant costs have been borne by AEPG for the last two years and previously by EEAS, the charity, and these far outweigh any viable rent increases. This is estimated to be twelve times the current rent per meet to cover the overhead costs involved.
"We are aware that there is a highly active group of supporters who are keen to continue the speedway operation and are lobbying against the cessation of speedway on the Peterborough Showground. To reiterate, speedway has only ever been run on an event-by-event basis and there is no requirement by the landowner to commit to this continuing.
“A charity, East of England Agricultural Society (EEAS), is the current (private) landowner of the East of England Showground.
"The landowner is free to use the land as it wishes and has no obligation to agree with external parties how the land is used.
"The land is in no way under the control of Peterborough City Council (PCC) and there is no obligation to hold any specific activities on the site at the behest of PCC, or the local community."