SAVE OUR STOW PRESS STATEMENT-19 AUGUST 2010
BOB MORTON TABLES FORMAL BID TO PURCHASE STOW
‘To return greyhound racing to this, its primary and historic home’ (Mayor Boris Johnson)
SAVE OUR STOW is delighted to announce that Mr Bob Morton, in his capacity as President of the Greyhound Owners Breeders and Trainers Association (GOBATA), has formally submitted his written proposals regarding the purchase of Walthamstow Stadium to current owners London & Quadrant. The proposals include a formal bid for the outright purchase of the land.
To paraphrase Mayor Boris Johnson, Mr Morton is seeking to return greyhound racing to its ‘primary and historic home’.
Maybe the simplest way of describing Mr Morton’s plans for the new Walthamstow Stadium is to liken it to the ‘Royal Ascot’ of greyhound racing. The new stadium will encompass the best traditions and practices of the famous Stow but it will be vastly improved, making it a top class leisure arena. Mr Morton’s plans involve a state of the art leisure arena with residential accommodation at the southern boundary of the site which will include affordable housing.
This multi use stadium will provide great benefits to the community. Most importantly it will offer a safe, inexpensive family friendly night out for the local community and beyond. It will also create hundreds of jobs for the local community allowing individuals to be no longer reliant on state benefits. The business brought about by the stadium will be spread far and wide, from taxi drivers to catering suppliers and all ancillary services and suppliers. The local night-time economy for the Borough will be revitalised with the track attracting thousands from outside the borough.
Other benefits to the community include the restoration of its heritage. The area is known worldwide for ‘The Stow’ and its restoration will bring back a sense of belonging and community. As with the past, it will also be a tremendous venue for raising much needed charitable monies for local and national good causes. The community facilities will help provide the youth with healthy, entertainment options.
Mr Morton’s vision is supported by the local Members of Parliament Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith (MP for Chingford) and Stella Creasy (MP for Walthamstow). A 20,000 strong petition was handed in to the council in support of the greyhound stadium.
Mr Morton’s plans are compatible with the Mayor’s vision for London. Mayor Boris Johnson has stated that ‘my vision for the regeneration of this site includes a range of leisure uses and new affordable housing, with heritage assets protected and enhanced, and built and designed to the highest architectural and environmental standards. Ideally, this would restore greyhound racing to this, its primary and historic home’.
It is worth repeating that the concept of a one sided greyhound stadium with development adjacent to the track is proven and successful at tracks such as Shelbourne Park and many other Irish and British sporting arenas. A local example of a sporting arena and residential housing working together is Leyton Orient Football Stadium.
The catchment area of Walthamstow Stadium runs in to several millions with the borough alone having a population of about 250,000. The new stadium will make full use of its prime location and inherited reputation and values as a top class greyhound stadium. Mr Morton will explore and include new income streams so that the stadium is income producing not just on race nights but also throughout the day and on non race nights.
The new business will offer dynamic and diverse promotion to the City of London’s corporate market as well as the wider corporate and personal market in the huge catchment area that the tracks enjoys. The new business will pay great attention to customer feedback to ensure customer satisfaction and to try to ensure repeat business.
It is envisaged that the arena will be attractive to families and individuals of all ages, creeds and colour. The younger generation can enjoy the evening maybe at the modern, trendy bar, enjoying brand takeaway food before going to the nightclub after racing. The more mature customer may prefer the more formal dining experience offered before maybe attending the after racing jazz/comedy club or similar facility in the Goodwood Lounge. The exclusive dining tables will overlook the winning line and will attract the premier footballers and celebrities alike.
The whole experience will be top class. The top greyhound trainers in the country will train the top greyhounds and race for top prize money. The track itself and all greyhound welfare aspects will be second to none. It will be an exciting yet secure and family friendly experience where the emphasis will be on excitement and quality with other entertainment provided around the greyhound racing itself.
This ‘show business’ yet quality environment will in turn attract huge crowds and in turn new corporate sponsors supplying further revenue streams for the track and inward investment for the Borough.
In short, Mr Morton’s vision is to firstly switch on the world famous neon lights of Walthamstow Stadium. In turn this will illuminate the Borough and help restore the pride and heritage to this part of London.
Mr Morton’s proposal to purchase Walthamstow Stadium is quite simply one that Waltham Forest cannot afford to miss out on. This represents a golden opportunity to change this Borough for the better for generations to come. We urge London & Quadrant to listen to the Mayor, the local Members of Parliament and the residents of the Borough and work with Mr Morton.
An ‘Accept The Bid’ drive will be launched by Government Minister Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith and Stella Creasy (MP for Walthamstow) within the next few days.
We would like to end this Press Statement by thanking Mr Morton for sharing and supporting our vision for the Stadium and we would also like to thank our vast and loyal supporters for all their help and support to date. We would like to wish both Mr Morton and GOBATA the very best of luck with this exciting venture.
Contact : Rick Holloway 07913 325674