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Blow for motorsport fans as Ringwood Raceway announces closure

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RINGWOOD Raceway has confirmed the chequered flag will wave for the last time this summer after nearly 70 years amid plans to turn the site into a retirement village.

The last event will be on Sunday 7th August after the venue said it had been served notice by the landowners.

Its closure will pave the way for 330 apartments and cottages for people aged 70-plus. There will also be a 60-bed care home, café, spa, restaurant and other leisure facilities within the complex.

Site of proposed Inspired Villages development, which includes Ringwood Raceway
Site of proposed Inspired Villages development, which includes Ringwood Raceway

Developer Inspired Villages has applied to Dorset Council to build the development despite overwhelming opposition during a public consultation.

The application has attracted over 100 letters of objection, and an "SOS – Save Our Stadium" social media page has been launched.

But that has not been enough to save the race track, on Matchams Lane, which dates back to 1954.

In a statement on Facebook, racetrack management said: “We have to report that Ringwood Raceway unfortunately is set to close its doors for motor sport for the last ever event on the weekend of Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August 2022.

“We have been served notice by the landowners in the lead up to their hopeful planning application.”

Calling it an “iconic venue”, it added the racetrack had “a long history of racing and lots of memories have been made along the way by many families, and we are truly saddened to be learning that without planning being approved that the landowners have decided this is unfortunately the end of the road”.

Ringwood mayor Cllr Gareth DeBoos said it was "sad" for the racetrack to close to motor sport after such a long time, but added: “A site like theirs is prime real estate for developers though and it will provide an opportunity to build much needed housing in the area.”

That infuriated Ringwood Raceway director Craig Robinson, who reacted: “I think it is disgusting that the mayor would want to see the racetrack lost.

"I do realise we need more housing but this is a care village for older people which will only benefit them.

“I am sure as well they would not want to see this area losing such a popular facility which has given so much pleasure to the community.”

News of the racetrack closing caused an outpouring of anger among racing fans, with one saying: “I first went there with my dad in the 1970s. It must be saved. Generations of people love Matchams.”

One woman revealed: “Very saddened to hear this, I was taken to watch my dad race at just three days old. To think my boys won’t ever race here breaks my heart.”

The retirement village is backed by Legal and General and NatWest pension groups. Plans claimed that by 2040 there will be 134,000 people over 65 living alone Dorset.

It said that the retirement village was based on “encouraging and facilitating wellbeing in older people, by providing a suitable, safe and secure environment.”

It added: “Residents move to an Inspired Village to stay independent for as long as possible but with the peace of mind provided where they can access on-site facilities and the care offer that is available.”

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