FIRE chiefs have this week raised their objections to the proposed £5m Abbey Meads stadium over safety fears if there was a blaze.

An updated application has been submitted to the council for the new greyhound and speedway racing arena in Lady Lane, but in a letter sent to planning officers, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is recommending the application should not go ahead until changes are made.

They cite the ‘failure to adequately mitigate the impact on the fire authority’ or ‘promote the development of a safe community’ and say building should not start until there a proper water supply and fire hydrants for use in the event of fire.

It adds: “Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service’s core objectives include the reduction of deaths, injuries and property damage caused by fire.

“The following recommendations are made with this in mind and, whilst not requirements, may become so during the formal building regulations consultation process and are made without prejudice to that process.”

But this week Blunsdon Parish Council also had their say on what will be the new home of the Swindon Robins team and is supporting the plans. It said: “Councillors agreed to support as they are unaware of any planning reason to object.”

It was hoped the new stadium would be open this year but there has been a number of delays.

An outline application was first approved by Swindon Borough Council in September 2008 for the demolition of the current stadium to build the new one, with the aim of the work being completed by the 2010 speedway season.

But it was brought back to the planning committee and re-approved in 2010 after the recession halted the previous plans.

The proposal has been tweaked over the years, by developers Gaming International, including in 2012 and earlier this year regarding issues such as noise control.

In May a new track design was submitted, as well as a plan on how traffic flow will be managed among other aspects, such as a public footpath from Lady Lane. Further papers were also submitted last week.

Terry Russell, who owns Swindon Robins, said: “Basically it’s been a moving target for some time and it is in their [Gaming International] hands and not my call.

“I know building work is imminent and I’m confident next season we will be in it.

“I can’t wait for building work to start so we can get all the speculation out the way.”

The development will also include a play area for youngsters, a racing building, training kennels and market. It is proposing to employ 62 people full-time, 20 more than at the moment.

A total of 479 parking spaces will be provided on-site for events; with 251 parking spaces around the stadium and 228 overflow parking spaces located nearby.