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Race against the clock

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EDINBURGH development director Gordon Campbell admits “the clock is ticking fast” for the club to secure their short-term future. Monarchs were handed a major setback last week when the Executive Committee of West Lothian Council approved the sale of the site which the club had earmarked for a new stadium, to an alternative bidder.

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The land had been placed on the open market, and Monarchs had been in contact with the Council since the summer of 2021 as they looked to establish a new home away from Armadale, which is set to close at the end of the current campaign.

They felt they had significant support for a scheme which would have developed community benefits far beyond the speedway club itself, and they had been encouraged by reaction within the Council.

Impressive public presentations showed a fully multi-use facility incorporating community activities, with plans to boost employability of young people though training and skills development programmes, in addition to the Monarchs’ own Academy and Innovation projects.

However, the land at Deans Industrial Estate in Livingston, situated approximately eight miles east of Armadale, will now be developed for commercial business use after the Council rubber-stamped the rival bid, which had become established as their preferred option via a Property Services recommendation the previous week.

An amendment which would have required the Council to reassess the two bids for total economic value and community benefit was narrowly rejected by a vote amongst councillors.

And that leaves the Monarchs in a race against time to be able to find a solution which enables them to declare their intentions for the 2023 season.

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Campbell said: “We’re disappointed with the outcome, and slightly frustrated with the process and the manner of how it was arrived at.

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“We’re understanding that the Council need to seek ‘best value,’ although that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘highest price,’ with there being a clear protocol where a lower bid can be selected if the use promotes or improves economic development and regeneration, health, social well-being, or the environment.

“The bid we submitted provided much detail on how we would contribute to more than one of these outcomes.


“We thoroughly believe that this was a fantastic opportunity for the local area, and we disagree that the council has received best value with the offer that they’ve agreed to.

“That adds to our disappointment, because we felt the very rounded bid that we’d submitted was best value for the local area, which was re-affirmed by our support in the local community.

“There’s obviously one local community council that the site would have been within, and there’s two quite nearby to that, and we had support across all three.

“That was something the councillors perhaps don’t see too often, to have such strong support in the community without too many objecting voices.

“Once they saw that, the ones who supported our case realised it was what the community wanted, which is why they pushed it forward, but unfortunately a portion of the council didn’t see it that way.

“As to what happens next, right the moment we can’t be specific. We are still exploring every opportunity and every option that could be out there.

“We still believe there’s time to do something, but obviously everyone knows that the clock is ticking fast.

“We’re still working very hard at it, and we’ll bring forward an announcement as soon as we can to confirm what we’re doing.”

Having chosen to go public with their intentions in late June, Monarchs always made it clear that their plans were subject to successful acquisition of the land.

And Campbell says it was only fair to their supporters, who had become aware of the impending closure of Armadale a month

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 Peterborough v Belle Vue (Premiership) 7.30 pm Sheffield v King’s Lynn (Premiership) 7.30 pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 Edinburgh v Redcar (Championship play-off) 7.30 pm SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 Leicester v Poole (Knockout Cup) 7.00 pm Redcar v Edinburgh (Championship play-off) 5.00 pm SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 Belle Vue: British Final 3.00 pm Kent v Belle Vue (National League) 12 noon TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 Plymouth v Poole (Championship play-off) 7.00 pm WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 Oxford v Kent (National League) 7.30 pm THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 King’s Lynn v Wolverhampton (Premiership) 7.30 pm Sheffield v Belle Vue (Premiership) 7.30 pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 Armadale v Leicester (National League) 7.30 pm

4 speedway star September 17, 2022

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 Scunthorpe: National League Riders’ 3.00 pm MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Wolverhampton v TBC (Premiership play-off) 7.30 pm THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Ipswich v TBC (Premiership play-off) 7.30 pm

• A setback for Gordon Campbell and his fellow Edinburgh directors

Eagles remain grounded A BID to bring speedway back to Eastbourne in 2023 appears to have failed.

A consortium attempting to revive speedway in Sussex issued the following statement this week:-

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts it is extremely unlikely to happen and we have at this stage, thrown in the towel for 2023. The last hurdle really was the BSPL explaining that they would need our commitment by the end of August, to run next season.

“We could have asked for more time but it seems, that would have just been delaying the inevitable.

“The costs of entering the Championship were simply too much to raise the amount required and the stadium owners were not keen on us running at National League level.

“We are devoted fans of the club and although this is most likely over for 2023, we do not want to give up. All the time there is a track at Arlington Stadium, we will want to see speedway there and will be happy to help financially or otherwise, with anyone that wishes to take up the mantle.

“We are truly sorry for any hopes that we raised and have now, dropped.”

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