ARC: Uncertain future for Belle Vue Stadium
Arena Racing Company (ARC) today confirmed that it has begun a consultation process on the future of Manchester's Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium.
Greyhound racing was suspended in the UK from 23 March due to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, but was the first live sport to return for UK spectators, with action restarting behind closed doors on 1 June.
In a statement, ARC insisted that no concrete decision has been made regarding Belle Vue’s future, and that a formal consultation with staff will take place in coming weeks.
However, the future of the racecourse was brought into question in 2019, when plans were brought forward to demolish the venue and replace it with around 250 new-build homes. Against broad public support for the project, racing fans and businesses have campaigned to keep the course open. As leaseholder of the site, ARC will be tasked with making a final decision on the venue’s future.
Managing director of ARC’s racing division, Mark Spincer, said “Due to the hugely damaging effects of the suspension of racing, we have decided to enter this period of consultation with staff over the future of Belle Vue.
“Whilst no firm decision has been taken as yet, we must explore every avenue which, sadly, could include closure of the site. We will go through this process with staff over the coming month, after which we will be able to offer a further update on the business.”
A canine welfare support package scheme has been in place throughout the pandemic, meaning greyhound trainers associated with Belle Vue have received payments to assist with the costs of animal welfare while racing was suspended.
Spincer went on to reassure those trainers that they will continue to receive the packages: “During this consultation period, we will continue our support payments to trainers attached to Belle Vue, to assist them and their owners, in meeting the welfare needs of their greyhounds.”
“There has always been tremendous support for racing at Belle Vue over the years and we would, of course, like to offer our continued thanks to all of the loyal staff, trainers, owners, bookmakers and customers.”