HAD you been at the Save Our Stow meeting at Walthamstow last night, a meeting called by the local residents, you would have gone home with the distinct impression that it’s a dog track the residents want and never mind the housing!

An attendance of almost 300, including former Walthamstow trainers and other well known members of the sport, turned out for the meeting and the overwhelming opinion was that L&Q, the site owners, have a battle on their hands if they are to see their development plans come to fruition in full.

“It seems that nobody wants housing there,” said the Walthamstow racing manager of many years standing, Chris Page. “Virtually to man and woman they made it quite clear that there are enough houses in the area and that it was the track they wanted.”

It was estimated that 90% of the turn-out was made up of local residents and the greyhound representatives were very encouraged by their desires for the return of the stadium. A number of Waltham Forest councillors were there too and the SOS rank and file will be hoping they report back their hopes for a Walthamstow incarnation, hopes shared by most of the locals.

Walthamstow held their last meeting in August 2008, since when the track has remained pitifully dormant.

 
 
Your chance to approach the planners...

SOME have long given up the ghost of Walthamstow Stadium rising from the ashes but not Ricky Holloway and his dogged band of brothers, whose Save Our Stow (SOS) campaign has given not a minute’s piece to planning officers and current owners of the famous site, London & Quadrant (aka L&Q) since the track’s closure more than three years ago.

Former owners, the Chandler family, took the money and run back in 2008 with not a care for tradition, not to mention local residents and greyhound fans, and the fact that their forbears were founders of the famous old stadium on Chingford Road. ‘We’re alright Jack’ literally, if former MD Jack Chandler will excuse the pun!

Holloway and his SOS supporters will not, and never will, take the closure without giving their all in the name of salvation and nobody could accuse them of giving anything other than that 100%, but it has been, and still is, one helluva fight.

 
 
WIMBLEDON owner Ross Banner rates the possibility of Walthamstow rising from the ashes a 5-4 chance but goes 4-7 that no it won’t.

Change that second price around and 7-4 against are the odds the bookmakers are offering about Sports Personality of the Year and champion National Hunt jockey an umpteenth number of times, Tony McCoy, becoming the first rider to receive a ban under the new whip rules announced yesterday by the BHA.

Don’t miss a trick those bookies do they but we reckon they would offer at least 1000-1 about the Save Our Stow (SOS) brigade throwing in the towel, keep at it lads and lasses.

 
 
...including the bookmakers after Victoria Falls’ 25-1 National victory! 

TUESDAY’S Sky show from the Grand National meeting at Wimbledon had a real buzz about it, provided by some thrilling finishes plus more newsy and interesting pieces than usual and, if there were ratings for Mr Murdoch’s  greyhound racing shows, then this week’s would be close to the top of the pile.

More on the big race shock later but you have to hand it to Ricky Holloway and his supporters of the Save Our Stow (SOS) campaign who, when the opportunity arises, don’t miss a single trick in getting their message out there!

Every parader at Wimbledon wore a white coat bearing the SOS logo while every runner wore a red jacket on parade with the same message, including the website address where folk can lodge their objections to the housing  development plans of the owners of the Walthamstow site, London & Quadrant.
 
 
WE have lost count of the times folk have begged the question, ‘has Wimbledon got a future?’ Mind you, it is almost a dead-heat between Plough Lane and Walthamstow as to which of the two tracks, if any, will be alive and kicking in, say, three years’ time.

The fact that the Stow will be coming up for its third anniversary of closure this August hardly augurs well for those hoping the phoenix will rise from the ashes, despite the magnificent efforts of Ricky Holloway and all his other passionate Save Our Stow (SOS) campaigners, including MPs et al.

Of course, where there is life there is hope and SOS are hanging on to their Walthamstow aspirations like a dog with the veritable bone but, and one doesn’t need to be an Einstein to realise it, that the longer the place remains dormant, the more those aspirations are unlikely to turn to reality.
 
 
THE offer is in from Bob Morton and the ball firmly in the court of London & Quadrant, who purchased the Walthamstow Stadium site almost two years ago and who must now decide whether greyhound racing returns to the famous old Chingford Road track in east London or stick with their original intention of developing the area solely for housing. The Save Our Stow campaign (SOS) has for months now put up a solid case for the return of racing at  Walthamstow and with the news that a bid is on the L&Q table comes the anticipation that at last a decision on the future of the track may now not be too far away.