A FIRE which broke out at Brandon Stadium last Friday (May 13) is being treated as arson, Warwickshire Police have confirmed.
Rugby Road in Brandon was closed after the blaze started at around 7pm, as five crews from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service fought the flames at the heavily smoke-logged three-storey building.
Residents in the surrounding area were told to keep their doors and windows closed due to the amount of smoke billowing out from the stadium.
Water had to be drawn from a hydrant on the main road with Severn Trent warning the local community to expect low water pressure and possible discolouring.
The fire, which is believed to have started around the office area of the main grandstand, is the largest and most serious since the stadium was closed by owners Brandon Estates at the end of the 2016 season.
Last month the Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign Group submitted an alternative planning application for the stadium.
The consultation has just ended for the ‘masterplan’ which would see the stadium reinstated with enhanced facilities for the local community, including provision for the under-stand bar to be converted into a gym.
Those behind the application said more than 90 per cent of the local community supported the application, in contrast to widespread opposition to the stadium owners’ plans to redevelop the site for housing.
A campaign group spokesman said: “This latest fire was in close proximity to houses in Speedway Lane and residents were understandably concerned and very angry.
“Like previous fires, traveller incursions and vandalism at the stadium, this has been enabled by the abject failure by the owners, Investin PLC / Brandon Estates, to secure the site.”
He said he felt the owners underestimated the opposition to the plans and the campaign group’s resolve – adding that the site should have been made more secure, claiming a random afternoon visit revealed at least 11 people, including drone fliers, inside.
The campaign group said it had received confirmation from the Chief Fire Officer Ben Brook that a thorough investigation would be conducted into the likely cause and preventative measures would be examined to reduce future fires at the stadium.
The group has also sent photographs of the fire and resultant damage to the owners.
Warwickshire Police has urged anyone with information on Friday’s fire to call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.