Application to extend Wales’ only greyhound stadium refused
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A second planning application to extend Wales’ only greyhound stadium has been refused, but its manager has insisted “this is not the end”.
Valley Greyhounds racing stadium is in Ystrad Mynach and the plans are to build kennels that would house 200 dogs on site.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning department has refused to grant permission for the development, due to an “inadequate” transport statement and a lack of flood consequences assessment.
The kennels were set to replace Tredomen Football Athletic Club’s former clubhouse.
Malcolm Tams, 67, who has run the stadium since 2008, said: “This is not the end. A resubmission will be going in by March with a flood consequences assessment and a new traffic management system.”
This decision follows the refusal of a separate application by Valley Greyhounds for an additional bar area, a function room, a new judge’s box and a vets surgery in September 2022.
The plans to extend the stadium is part of its aim to obtain a professional racing licence by January 2024. Construction work has already begun on site.
Animal welfare charities Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have campaigned against the expansion.
Vanessa Waddon, senior head of operations at Hope Rescue, said she was “pleased” to see the plans refused.
She added: “The development would have led to even more serious injuries and deaths for the greyhounds racing at the track due to the proposed increase in racing from one night to four days/nights to fulfil lucrative livestream contracts for gambling purposes.
“We are however concerned that the kennels have already been built, and that the development and expansion will continue regardless of the planning decision.”
Valley Greyhounds’ plans have received significant publicity recently, with the Senedd’s Petition Committee supporting Hope Rescue’s petition to ban greyhound racing in Wales.
Mr Tams has criticised the petition for not representing Wales’ views, due to the fact only 18,707 out of 35,101 signatures on the petition are by people living in Wales.
In response to the backlash, Mr Tams has previously said: “Everybody has got their own minds, if you don’t like greyhound racing, don’t come here. It’s the same with any sport.
“People think we don’t care, we do care. It’s not about money for us, it’s about the community we have created.”
What have local politicians said?
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning, Cllr Philippa Leonard, said she was against the stadium’s plans to extend.
Cllr Leonard said: “My personal thoughts on it is I would rather greyhound racing be abolished in Wales, but the application is beyond my control and will be down to the committee.
“I’m an animal lover myself and I don’t like the way they are treated after their careers finish.”
Many Senedd Members have supported the ban on greyhound racing publicly, including Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell and Peredur Owen Griffiths, as well as Labour’s Rhianon Passmore.
Caerphilly’s Labour MS Hefin David said: “While I’m opposed to the extension, I’m keen to have dialogue with all parties involved.”
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