Page last updated at 13:25 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 14:25 UK

New plans for Walthamstow stadium

Dogs are led out on Saturday night
The final race night was held in August

A consortium hoping to revive greyhound racing at Walthamstow dog track has submitted alternative plans for the site which include a multiplex cinema.

Campaigners are fighting to save the east London stadium which was bought in May by developers planning to build up to 500 homes on the site.

The consortium's plans will retain the track, alongside new flats, a bowling alley, sports facilities and a library.

Walthamstow dog track closed last month after 75 years of greyhound racing.

On Friday campaigners backing the plans to keep the dog track took part in a demonstration outside Waltham Forest Town Hall.

'Concrete jungle'

Rick Holloway, who is leading the Save our Stow (SOS) consortium bid, said: "As it's such an iconic stadium and landmark of east London we are hoping the council will realise they cannot afford to lose the 'Stow and more leisure facilities for the people... of Waltham Forest council.

"The developers only want to build houses, but the whole of Waltham Forest doesn't have a cinema."

Mr Holloway said the plans had the backing of local MPs and on Friday they received an email asking them to send details of their campaign to the mayor of London.

He also said plans to build up to 500 new homes by owners, London and Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q), would turn the area into a "concrete jungle".

L&Q said it had agreed to meet the SOS consortium on 17 September "for them to present a more detailed business proposal and to provide evidence that funds are available for any proposed purchase".

Affordable housing

Waltham Forest Council's councillor Terry Wheeler, said: "The council will be working extremely hard to ensure that the listed aspects of the stadium - namely the facade and the kennels - are safeguarded during any future development."

He said the council also wanted to ensure any development was sympathetic to the area and "provides much needed affordable housing".

The stadium was first opened in 1933 by William Chandler, who had started out operating as an illegal street bookmaker.

In addition to its regular fans, it has hosted public figures such as Sir Winston Churchill and actors Lana Turner, Vinnie Jones and Brad Pitt.

The former owners said poor attendances and the advent of high street and internet gambling had made the track "unsustainable".

But the consortium has offered 1m more than the figure paid for the stadium - thought to be between 20m and 30m - to take over the site.





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SEE ALSO
Final punt for famous dog track
15 Aug 08 |  London
Walthamstow race track to close
19 May 08 |  London
In pictures: Walthamstow Stadium
15 Aug 08 |  In Pictures

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