SWINDON Robins chairman Terry Russell believes there is "genuine light at the end of the tunnel'' in terms of work on a revamped speedway stadium at Blunsdon getting underway.

The Robins bring the curtain down on their 2018 campaign with their final SGB Premiership match of the season against Belle Vue Aces on Thursday evening - the last time the current track at the Abbey Stadium will be raced on.

Russell says he understands from the stadium landlords that they are confident the required permissions from Swindon Borough Council will arrive shortly to allow the work to start on a new facility.

Gaming International Ltd submitted a reserve matters application earlier this year proposing that the new stadium be developed where the current one lies, with the existing speedway and greyhound race tracks being retained but shortened and fitted with new lighting and a safety fence.

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 a succession of setbacks ever since.

Gaming International claimed 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.

In the meantime, the expansion on housing close to the stadium site continued, with the company revealing that the initial plans for the arena had been changed because of "the redesign of the Abbeymeads scheme.''

Under the revised 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.

The endless delays have led to repeated speculation that the stadium redevelopment would never happen, leading to fears over the future of speedway in the town.

But Russell said: "I understand all those cynics who say they'll believe it when they see it, there have been several false dawns.

"But with the track staying on the site where it is, we can work on it through the winter and have a new 300-metre circuit in place for next season.

“The back straight and home straight buildings will come down and the pits will need to be moved, but whenever that happens we know we can press on and change the track as soon as this season is over.

“We have all the plans in place so obviously the straights will become a lot shorter and I’m hoping the new shape will enable us to provide more entertainment value.

“Like everyone else, I’ve been through false dawns but can only work on the information supplied to me and I do believe there is genuine light at the end of the tunnel."