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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
16th May 2008

BGRB REACTION TO WALTHAMSTOW CLOSURE STATEMENT

http://www.thedogs.co.uk/index.php?m=aid&id=303



Following today’s news of the forthcoming closure of Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, Lord David Lipsey Chairman of the British Greyhound Racing Board, said:

“Everyone with an interest in greyhound racing will miss the unique sense of style with which Walthamstow Stadium has hosted greyhound racing. Away from the very centre of London, its famous neon frontage has become one of the capital's most recognised landmarks.

“While no-one who follows events at Walthamstow will be hugely surprised by this very sad news, it is a great pity to lose one of the sport's flagship venues at a time when attendances at other stadia appear to be increasing. This demonstrates the difficulty of making a decent return from greyhound racing on city development sites - and therefore strengthens the need to improve greyhound racing's public appeal and economic success

“I am pleased that the Chandler family have given supporters of the track time to be able to say their 'goodbyes' before locking the gates for the last time.

“BGRB Welfare Officer Peter Laurie and Welfare Committee Chairman John Haynes will be making arrangements to visit the stadium early next week to discuss how the welfare of the dogs will be safeguarded. The BGRB Trainers Assistance Fund keeps a reserve to help in instances of track closure, although we hope that given this period of notice, many will find opportunities to continue training at other tracks.

“My sympathies go out to the owners, trainers and kennel staff connected to the track, to all the staff, the track bookmakers and by no means least of all, the race goers who have helped make greyhound racing at Walthamstow the wonderful experience it is and always has been.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Walthamstow to close its doors

by Michelle Fortune, 17 May 2008

http://www.setantasports.com/en/Spo.../sport-space/great-britain-locale/Misc-Sports

The British greyhound industry has been rocked by the news that Walthamstow Stadium is to close in mid-August after being sold for residential development.

Founded in 1933, Walthamstow is one of the sport's leading venues but a downturn in profits forced shareholders to reconsider its future and an offer from a development consortium sealed its fate.

The shock news was relayed to staff and trainers on Friday afternoon with chairman Charles Chandler citing taxation changes, an increase in general costs and extended opening hours of betting offices for the reason behind the decision.

The stadium will begin winding down and will stage its final meeting in mid-August before the property is handed over to its new owners on September 1.

"The directors of Walthamstow Stadium Limited have agreed to the sale of the Company’s freehold property at Walthamstow Stadium to a development consortium led by Yoo Capital and K W Linfoot plc. Formal contracts have been exchanged and completion is expected on or before 1st September 2008. Racing will continue until the middle of August 2008," a statement read.

"Since the abolition of General Betting Duty in 2001, with the consequent loss of the unique advantage of tax-free betting only on-course, greyhound punters have been able to bet tax-free off-course, and with betting offices and exchanges open throughout the evening to accommodate them, attendances and betting turnover on-course have declined dramatically.

"Walthamstow’s totalisator turnover alone has fallen by some 35% during the period.

"With all of the principle income streams in sharp decline, and general running costs rising relentlessly, the company’s operations have become unsustainable.

"Staff and trainers have been notified and now enter a consultation period. It is hoped that all will find alternative positions after operations cease.

"From an animal welfare point of view, it is anticipated that most of the greyhounds currently racing at the Stadium will be accommodated at other racecourses.

"If, however, certain owners choose to retire their greyhounds, every effort will be made to support them in finding suitable homes."

John Coleman, representing the track's trainers has been left stunned by the news.

"We had no inkling," he told the Racing Post. "Everyone expected much longer notice were anything like this to happen - perhaps August next year. But it is this August."

Lord Lipsey, chairman of BGRB, was not hugely shocked by the turn of events but he offered his sympathies to those affected by the closure.

"Everyone with an interest in greyhound racing will miss the uinque sense of style with which Walthamstow Stadium has hosted greyhound racing," he said.

"While no-one who follows events at Walthamstow will be hugely surprised by this very sad news, it is a great pity to lose one of the sport's flagship venues at a time when attendances at other stadia appear to be increasing.

"I am pleased that the Chandler family have given supporters of the track time to be able to say their goodbyes before locking the gates for the last time.

"My sympathies go oit to the owners, trainers and kennelstaff connected to the track, to all the staff, the track bookmakers and by no means least of all the racegoers who have helped make greyhound racing at Walthamstow the wonderful experience it is and always has been."
 

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The olympics are also quite relevant in all of this. Because the stadium is so close, the money offered for new development is quite high.

Someone at work told me they were also thinking of selling off Wimbeldon Stadium which is a shame.
 

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The Stow has been on the wane facility wise for a few years now. Charlie Chan's nightclub at the stadium has already closed (don't know when that happened as it's been years since I've been there). I was speaking to someone a few weeks ago that who said the no. of bookies over there has dwindled recently as attendances have slid. It a real shame as the neon sign is a very well known local landmark maybe that can be saved? EH anyone?
 

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Is it due to the changing demographics of the area ?

I've ridden the train past Romford dogs on a few occasions and that place looks quite busy.
 

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I think the problems were more down to land value increasing (what with the olympics so close) and the problems with tax and offsite bookies as the article mentions. Considering this stadium has the highest turnover and audience for any dog tracks, and was included in films like Snatch, its a real shame that this is shutting its doors.

Romford is owned by Coral and seems to offer quite a lot of restaurants and bars. I highly doubt this will be closing anytime soon.
 
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