Demolition of speedway stadium means end of era for Newport
9:16am Thursday 9th August 2012 in Gwent news
THE demolition of Newport Speedway stadium this week marked the end of an era for the sport in the city.
Hayley Stadium is no more after bulldozers moved in on Tuesday to collapse the derelict stands and outbuildings.
The newly cleared site is set to become a haulage depot after Chepstow-based MCL Logistics took over ownership in May.
Supporters, who had backed retired Speedway rider Phil Morris’ bid to resurrect the sport in the city, said they were devastated at its loss.
Mark Poulton said: “It now looks like there is no hope of a future in Newport for a professional sport that has brought such a positive name for Newport for 50 years.”
“It is a sad day for Newport and an even sadder day for speedway in the UK.”
Fan Wayne Evans said: “I just think back to Tim Stone who started it, he put so much time, effort and sweat into it – so did the supporters.
For it now to be lost, it’s a sad day.
“While it was there, there was always a hope that somebody would step in but now there’s none.”
The stadium closed in February after several failed takeover bids, an arson attack and repeated spates of vandalism.
Lliswerry councillor Allan Morris, said of the demolition: “It’s a sad end to a glorious era for the city. But nothing is forever and who knows one day it may well be back again.”
A man arrested in connection with the arson attack at the stadium earlier this year has been bailed pending further enquiries.
COMMENT: Sad end for our stadium
AS THE bulldozers moved onto the site of Hayley Stadium this week it could not have been spelled out more clearly that we have come to the end of an era in Newport.
For the sport of speedway, has now been lost to the city.
And the site of the former stadium, which has staged speedway fixtures for 50 years, is to be redeveloped as a haulage depot.
This is a sad day, not just for speedway fans, but for all of us who believe that being home to the best and most varied sporting facilities is a major asset for any city.
As we have seen with the tremendous show of public support for the Olympics, sport can be a great force for good.
And as Newport has seen with the burgeoning international sports village at Spytty, having one fantastic facility, such as the velodrome, can act as a catalyst for attracting others.
The Football Association of Wales is pressing ahead with its ambitious plans to create the National Football Development Centre right next to it.
Not only does this represent major investment in Newport, the development is already benefiting local teams before it is built due to the fact that the public has access to the new 3G pitch that is already in place.
So a pity, then, that nobody could be found to take on Hayley Stadium and keep yet another sport in Newport.