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Stadium dream is in doubt
A MULTI-MILLION pound stadium bringing speedway back to Dudley is unlikely to be built at Castle Hill, a top councillor has claimed.
Ambitious plans for a new venue at the flagship junction of Castle Hill and Tipton Road, which would house Dudley Heathens Speedway and Gornal Athletic Football Club, were revealed last week.
But the proposed location has already been called into question by Dudley Council’s new deputy leader, councillor Shaukat Ali, who said different plans for the site were already in the pipeline.
Though he refused to be drawn on what these other proposals might be, the News understands it could be a 160-bedroom hotel.
However cllr Ali, who also serves as cabinet member for regeneration, said the plans could be “jeopardised” by plans for a stadium.
He added: “There is an existing plan for the future of the Castle Hill site.
“Any departure from this, at this time, would prejudice the Castle Hill development, which will in itself bring significant investment and jobs.
“However, the council will continue to work with the speedway promoters and Gornal Athletic to attempt to finda suitable site.”
Last week’s announcement of a potential return for the Heathens brought a delighted reaction from fans who have long campaigned for speedway to return to the borough.
Under the plans, Gornal would sell their current Garden Walk home to fund the new stadium, with the Heathens moving in as tenants.
Heathens chairman Nigel Pearson said both clubs remain committed to the plans following a meeting last week and said Castle Hill was not the only site under consideration.
He said: “Castle Hill is a fantastic location but should the site not be available then we will look elsewhere.
“We are committed to pushing the project forward. We are not restricted to one location.
“It is our intention to work with Gornal Athletic FC and Dudley Council to find somewhere for a multi-purpose stadium which would benefit thousands of people.”