Rugby borough gets swept up in Coventry City Football Club ground dispute as stadium row rages on

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Villagers have warned there would be uproar if Coventry City Football Club were allowed to build a stadium on the site of Brandon Speedway.

The Sky Blues are rumoured to have signed a provisional deal to buy land next to the speedway on land between Binley Woods and Brandon. The club would use the land to build a new long-term 12,000-seater home – but there are several reasons why the project might never happen, not least convincing Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee there is enough infrastructure to link the stadium with near-by Coventry.

Binley Woods Parish Council chairman Cllr Paul Salisbury said: “Should there be any truth in the news, residents would be very disappointed.

“There is enough noise and pollution, parking problems and litter within Binley Woods from speedway and stock car, noise extends to well after midnight on big occasions with fireworks and overnight European revellers camping, holding rowdy parties.”

He added: “Coventry City FC would have to change its name as it is in Rugby borough. Coventry City FC also jointly negotiated and had input into the Ricoh Arena – now they have walked away from that agreement.

“I would expect residents to strongly object to this proposal.”

Mick Horton is the owner of Coventry Bees, the speedway team based at Brandon. He has just signed a new ten-year deal for the continuation of speedway at the site. He said: “We have a deal that could hopefully see speedway at Brandon for the next 20 years.”

Whatever happens with the Sky Blues, it’s expected there will be speedway at the stadium until 2023.

There is also a bitter on-going despite between Coventry City Football Club’s owners, the hedge fund Sisu, and the owners of the Ricoh Arena, who are owed over £1m in rent arrears by the club.

The uncertainty over whether Coventry could play at the Sixfields stadium in Northampton could be ended on Friday when the parties involved meet to discuss whether a Creditor Voluntary Agreement could be signed by Ricoh owners ACL, writing off much of the debt the club owes. If signed, the agreement would bring the club out of administration and mean that new players could be signed and home games for this season being played at Northampton. It would also mean ACL recovering £590,000.

If ACL reject the terms proposed in the agreement put forward by Sisu then the club would enter liquidation and be docked 15 points by the Football League. ACL, which is half owned by the city council, is keen to ensure the Sky Blues remain in Coventry, and so is reluctant to sign the agreement as it stands.