THE owners of the Abbey Stadium have announced new proposals that will see the new arena built on the site of the existing one, it was announced today.

Gaming International Ltd have submitted a reserve matters application proposing that the new stadium be developed where the current one lies, with the existing race tracks being retained.

The company say the speedway and greyhound tracks will be shortened "to improve racing'' and will be fitted with new lighting and a safety fence.

Gaming International chairman Clarke Osborne said that they were ready to start work "as soon as we receive the green light'' and that there was a "realistic programme to have the Robins racing on their new track this season.''

Plans for a new venue next door to the existing Abbey Stadium home were first unveiled in 2015 but the project has been hit by setbacks ever since.

Gaming International stated last year that work to build the new facility off-site had been completed but that drainage issues at the current site in Blunsdon meant it could not be installed.

The company have now revealed that the initial plans for the arena have been changed because of "the redesign of the Abbeymeads scheme.''

Under the plans, the existing grandstand would go, to be replaced by a two-level building designed to accommodate more than 700 as well as a viewing balcony.

New racing kennels, speedway pits, changing rooms, a youth training facility, lecture rooms, offices and a cafe and bar would also be part of the new development.

Gaming International chairman Clarke Osborne said: "This has been a hugely frustrating and expensive year for us in Swindon, with the ongoing delays sirrounding the site-wide drainage design, whilst our new customer and racing facilities sat waiting in a car park in South Wales.

"However, out of this adversity has come an improved design which will maintain excellent orientation with the Abbeymeads development and most importantly, will allow us to work at speed in delivering what will be a fantastic speedway and greyhound racing facility for Swindon.

"The new location and design will provide for enhanced links with the local community, providing recreational facilities in walking and cycling distance.

"This, together with the open market and major entertainment/exhibition space, will ensure regular year-round use of the stadium facility, which is planned to open for an activity 364 days per year.''

Osborne added: "The exercise of building whilst operating internationally broadcast greyhound racing at the highest level presents logistical and organisational challenges, but our carefully designed programme will see the stadium out of action for a maximum of two weeks.

"We are ready to start work as soon as we receive the green light and have a realistic programme to have the Robins racing on their new track this season.

"Our commitment from the outset of this project is to ensure continuity of speedway and greyhound racing and this remains. It is logistically challenging and will involve some disruption for our greyhound owners, trainers and customers, but it will be worth it as we produce what I hope will be the best rac track and greyhound welfare facilities in the UK.

Swindon Robins owner Terry Russell added: "Good positive news at last.

"The Robins were the top speedway team in the UK in 2017 and we are ready for our new stadium.

"My thanks to all the team at Gaming International for their hard work and determination and my sincere thanks to the thousands of speedway supporters for their patience. More winning speedway next season - can't wait.''

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: "Having worked tirelessly to help resolve the frustrating delays, it is a huge relief that the final issues have been addressed and we can finally see the new stadium work get under way.

"The plans for the new facilities are exciting and rightly this work will be completed before the final housing is completed, as the developers seek to deliver a stadium fit for the speedway champions.''