Speedy move to transform stadium | 28 November 07

A FORMER greyhound stadium is set to be transformed into a new housing development thanks to some swift work by North law firm Ward Hadaway.

The Newcastle-based firm advised brownfield regeneration specialist Woodford Land on its purchase of the disused greyhound stadium in Spennymoor, County Durham.

The five-acre site last staged greyhound races in the 1980s and has been unused for many years.

A number of developers have previously tried to remedy the site, formerly owned by British Coal, but have been put off by a number of issues including land quality.

However, Woodford Land was undaunted by the site’s track record and, with legal advice from Ward Hadaway, concluded an acquisition of the land in just two weeks.

Woodford Land has a long track record of taking on and successfully remediating industrial and brownfield land via the environmental and consulting arms of its parent company, Woodford Group PLC.

Previous successes in the North-East include the purchase of land at Boathouse Lane in Stockton two years ago, an acquisition which Ward Hadaway also advised on.

That land was cleaned up, planning permission was secured for more than 200 homes and the site was sold at the end of August to Dunelm Castle Homes and Woodford’s housing division, Homes by Woodford.

Alan Harkness, partner in the property team at Ward Hadaway, said: “We are pleased to have successfully concluded another acquisition for Woodford Land and in such a short space of time as well.

“This is a strategically important piece of land in Spennymoor between the main part of the town and the site of the new Thorn Lighting factory.

“It is a site which has lain dormant for a long time and we hope that with Woodford’s expertise in the field, it can be brought back into good use for the benefit of the town and its people.”

Jason Parkinson, Managing Director of Woodford Land, said: “The former British Coal owned site represents an excellent opportunity to remediate and return this unused land into high-quality housing. Woodford Land is experienced at managing sites of this nature and we look forward to starting on the site in Spring 2008.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Ward Hadaway again, they played an important role in ensuring the swift acquisition of this site.”