Sports Facility Hit Hurdle

Plans for multi sports stadium near Priory Bridge were dramatically halted in Summer 1980 when residents of Priory Bridge formed a petition to obstruct the development.

With the speedway at Springwells set to close, a new location had to be found and the private site at Bardykes owned by Francis Doonin, just off the road leading to Halfway was selected. However, it was not just for the speedway rebuild, but was intended to improve and provide Blantyre with some decent sports facilities.

Residents felt that rebuilding the speedway so close to Priory Bridge would have been noisy, despite the fact that speedway had houses around it previously. Meetings were called for with Mr Doonin attending, who explained that the speedway would be located on the opposing end of the site away from homes and that it formed only a small part of the development. His intention was to include football pitch, athletic track and provide a commercial aspect of the stadium for a building which could accommodate a disco, functions and parties. The development was seen by some as much needed and a positive step for facilities in Blantyre, investing in the future of sportsmen and women in the area.

This was to be a huge undertaking with the first phase costing a whopping £500,000 with proposals to add facilities that could train people right up to Olympic standards.

However, despite the speedway only being proposed to run for 2 hours per week, growing objection and increased support for the petition in Blantyre generally saw the proposals fall flat, the council throwing in their tuppence stating that Blantyre would shortly be getting a state of the arts Sports Centre.

Do YOU remember these plans? I can’t help but think this would have been great for Blantyre and was likely sufficiently far off from housing.

Source: From the book “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (C) 2020 and also Hamilton Advertiser Records, July 1980.

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