Two petitions boasting more than 4,600 signatures between them have been raised against plans to demolish Hall Green Greyhound Racing Stadium and build housing on the site.
The petitions are also backed by MP Roger Godsiff (Hall Green) and Jess Phillips (Yardley) who are concerned at the loss of 200 jobs and closure of the popular sporting and leisure facility in their area.
But despite the stadium being recently awarded Asset of Community Value (ACV) status the council’s planning department have recommended plans to demolish it and build up to 210 homes on the site be approved by the city’s planning committee when it meets on Thursday, June 23.
Below: Greyhounds race at Hall Green
In a letter to the council Mr Godsiff said: “Hall Green Stadium is a community asset. It is as much a part of the sporting heritage of this city as Edgbaston Cricket Ground, St Andrews and VIlla Park.”
He also points out that it is a profitable business and major employer and says the council should not allow the ‘wealthy’ owner Euro Property Investments to profit at the expense of the Hall Green community.
The company bought the stadium, snooker club and hotel for £3 million in 2014.
Stephen Rea of the Save Hall Green Stadium campaign will make a final plea to next week’s committee to reject the demolition. He said: “Hall Green Stadium has been a part of my life for 60 years. As a boy growing up my family would go to the dogs for a night out and I personally ended the last 15 years of my working life as the general manager of both Hall Green and Perry Barr Stadiums. ”
He said that over 200,000 people from the Midlands still attend the stadium every year and hundreds rely on it for employment.
The success of earning ACV status has given a boost to the campaign, but may not prevent planning permission for housing being approved as they are separate processes.
A council spokesman said: “An ACV listing means that the owner of the asset must notify the council of any intention to sell the site, as well as offering the community the chance to purchase it before this takes place. However, an ACV listing does not necessarily mean a site will not be redeveloped, as it is separate from the planning process.”
A report to next week’s planning committee says that greyhound racing fans in Birmingham will still be well served by the Perry Barr stadium.
Planning officer Andrew Conroy states: “Whilst acknowledging that the loss of Hall Green Stadium as an existing community/recreational facility and loss of existing employment at the site would be regrettable I consider, on balance, that this would be outweighed by the positive aspects of the proposed development.
“These positive aspects include: contributing towards the city’s housing needs with residential development on a brownfield site
that is sustainably located within easy access of existing employment opportunities, public transport, shops and facilities, schools and healthcare facilities”