East Lothian greyhound track plan shelved as butcher's firm is set to take over Wallyford site

Plans for a controversial greyhound stadium in East Lothian have been scrapped – 20 years after they were first put forward.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:55 am

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Anti-cruelty campaigners said the move was ‘great news’ after battling to halt the development of the dog racing centre.

Sirius Sports and Leisure director Howard Wallace, who has been the driving force behind the partially built stadium, has told East Lothian Council that he has “written off” the costs of the project to date.

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Owner Craig Dobie with hounds Autumn and Merlin at the part-built stadium
Owner Craig Dobie with hounds Autumn and Merlin at the part-built stadium

In a statement lodged as part of a planning application to change his company’s obligations over the stadium, Mr Wallace said that changing attitudes towards greyhound racing in society and among politicians along with the closure of a number of UK stadiums had led his decision.

He said: “I regret that, against this evolving background, I have not been able to proceed with the stadium any further.

“My company Sirius Sports & Leisure has written off stadium costs of £2.53million in its accounts.”

Family-ownedJohn Gilmour Butchers has come to a conditional agreement with Sirius Sport and Leisure to take on the stadium site.

In a statement lodged with the council in support of the application, John Gilmour Butchers says it intends to move its Macmerry operations to the site so it can expand.

The firm want to create a new butchery, a processing facility for a new range of plant-based foods, a deli, food hall and create 40 new jobs.

The original plan for the greyhound stadium at Barbachlaw Farm was approved in 2005 as part of a new development area.

The new planning application is currently under consideration but the move has been welcomed by one of the UK’s leading organisations backing calls to end greyhound racing.

The campaign group Say No to Greyhound Racing in Scotland said: “This is fantastic news for East Lothian and Scotland.

"Greyhound racing exists purely to service the multi billion pound global gambling industry and was directly responsible for injuring 14,770 dogs and killing 2,742 between 2017-19. Data for 2020 is due very soon from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. Currently. Greyhound racing is cruel and abusive and has no place in the UK in 2021.”

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