The thrills and spills of speedway and the excitement of the dogs could soon be replaced by the sounds of suburbia.
A construction firm is closing in on a £3.645m deal for the former Ellesmere Port Greyhound Stadium to be sold for housing.
The Thornton Road site was revamped only as recently as early 2013, courtesy of Liverpool-based entrepreneur Phillip Warren.
A total of £170,000 was invested in renovating the 2,000-capacity stadium, once home to the Ellesmere Port Gunners speedway squad, and upgrading the track and its facilities, including an improved bar and new grandstand seating.
But the stadium, at the time one of only nine independent tracks left in the country, stopped holding greyhound race meetings and closed in spring last year.
In collaboration with the stadium company, the borough council sought bids from developers willing to provide homes on the near 11-acre site, 30% of which would be for affordable rent.
Property website Place Northwest has now disclosed that Cheshire-based Galliford Try Construction North has offered an initial bid of £3,645,000 which has been agreed, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.
The council launched a search for a partner earlier this year as it believed there was the ‘potential’ for residential development, subject to permission.
The possibility of housing being built on the site was first discussed in 2008.
Details released by the council pointed to the ‘excellent road links and close proximity to Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet and the new Ellesmere Port Sports and Leisure Village’.
The stadium and adjacent land was described as being in a mainly residential area close to junctions 9 and 10 of the M53.
The council revealed it had been working in collaboration with the stadium company on the possibility of housing.
Particulars stated: “The council has recently obtained approval for a programme of new affordable homes.
“As part of the programme, the appointed developer will be contractually obligated to build the 30% affordable units on behalf of the council.
“The council would then take on the affordable homes paying £65,000 for each one bedroom apartment, £75,000 for each two bed town house and £80,000 for each three bed town house.”
The successful developer would be responsible for the reprovision of the current football storage and car park on the Thornton Road playing fields, with the location to be decided through consultation with the users.
A borough council spokesperson declined to comment at present and Galliford Try, which markets its homes under the Linden Homes banner, did not respond to inquiries.
It is understood, however, the final details of the agreement are likely to be signed off in the near future.
The council will retain the freehold interest in the site, having let the land on a 125-year lease to Ellesmere Port Greyhound Stadium Ltd in 2002.
A post on social media said: “End of an era – I remember when this used to be the speedway stadium and as kids we used to sit on the walls watching the racing (many moons ago).”
During the stadium’s height, it saw the Ellesmere Port Gunners tear around the track from 1972 until 1982, before being resurrected for one more season in 1985.
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