Locals in Peterborough are expressing their anger and sadness as the city's iconic greyhound racing stadium is set to be bulldozed after 89 years. The Perkins family, who had run the stadium since 1945, announced its closure in May 2020 due to the impact of Covid. Now, plans are in place to build commercial units on the site, which is expected to create up to 250 jobs and provide an £11 million boost to the local economy.
Local Legend Barry Fry Laments the Loss
Barry Fry, director of football at Peterborough Football Club, described the closure as a "great shame" and emphasized the significance of the racecourse to the community. He expressed his sadness at the loss and highlighted the popularity of the stadium among people of all ages, including families who would attend the races. Fry reminisced about the memorable days out he had with his players and staff, enjoying the excellent meals served in the stadium's restaurant.
Mixed Reactions from Locals
Opinions among locals are divided regarding the demolition of the stadium. Retired printer Derek Barber, whose home's back garden was affected by the stadium's expansion, expressed relief at having a more peaceful life after the track closed. He recalled the issues caused by protesters and rowdy behavior from visitors. On the other hand, composer and cellist Joanna Borrett welcomed the end of greyhound racing due to concerns about the treatment of dogs. She suggested repurposing the stadium into a sports center and athletics ground for the benefit of local children.
Pradip Patel, owner of a nearby stationary business, admitted to missing the stadium but acknowledged the need for improvement in the area. Patel believes that the new industrial units will clean up the site, alleviate issues caused by second-hand car dealers, and provide much-needed employment opportunities.
Tearing Down of Established Buildings Sparks Concern
Tony and Brenda Tunnicliffe, long-time residents of the area, expressed their despair over the demolition of established buildings to make way for industrial units. They fear that their own end-terrace house may eventually meet the same fate and have observed the transformation of the once rural surroundings into a "concrete jungle."
Change of Use and New Business Opportunities
While the closure of the stadium is met with sadness, the Perkins family's decision was driven by the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. The family acknowledged the support of all those involved with the stadium over the years and thanked the patrons who enjoyed the racing nights. Fengate Land Holdings Ltd (FLHL) recently purchased the site and aims to transform it into a bustling business hub, bringing new opportunities and potential employment to the area.
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