The History of the Romford Bombers
The Case Against.....
1969

The news that Speedway was to be staged at Brooklands Stadium, Romford, was first broken in the Romford Recorder newspaper of 16th May 1969. Already, residents in the Brooklands area were indicating their dissatisfaction, one saying, "Football is bad enough but speedway as well - it's too frightening to think about!"

The Leader of Havering Council, Cllr. Jack Moultrie, looked into the legality of the introduction of speedway at Brooklands but found that there was no breach of planning regulations provided that the activity was restricted to 28 days or less in any calendar year. As the Speedway season could be adequately accommodated by 28 meetings, no planning permission was required.

The first meeting at Brooklands went ahead on Thursday 29th May 1969 and attracted over 3,000 spectators. But local residents claimed that this meeting confirmed their fears of excessive noise from the racing itself and the additional traffic and spectators would disturb their childrens' sleep. They also feared that fumes from the speedway bikes could pollute the air in the vicinity of the stadium.

Residents formed the Brooklands Tenants Association to fight against the threat of regular speedway meetings at Brooklands. The secretary of the Association told the Romford Recorder "My house in Cedar Road backs onto the stadium. During the meeting, the noise was terrible". She further claimed that her young daughter was kept awake until 10pm and that there was "a horrible smell from the engines and oil". Another resident of Brooklands Road complained of noise from cars and spectators leaving the stadium after the meeting.

Local MP Ron Ledger took up the Residents' complaints with Town Clerk John Symons but again found that, under existing Town & Country Planning legislation, no action could be taken. However, a medical officer was to attend the next two meetings to record noise levels.

As the first season progressed, the Brooklands Tenants Association launched a fund to pay the cost of any legal battle that would be required to bring a halt to speedway at Brooklands. A High Court Injunction was to be sought against the speedway promoters. The group had already lobbied councilors at the town Hall and handed in to the Mayor a 250-strong petition against speedway. A solicitor had been hired by the group to look into complaints of noise, smell and nuisance and funds were being raised to pay a barrister to consider whether an injunction could be taken out. The Association claimed to have members from 283 households from the Brooklands area and further complaints were raised about cars from speedway spectators jamming the roads so that local residents couldn't get out.

By the end of 1969, Bombers' landlords, Romford Football Club, had received planning permission to build 176 homes on the Brooklands site. The football club was in negotiations with Southern League neighbours Brentwood Town about a proposal to merge the two clubs and build a stadium close to the Havering/Brentwood border. You would have thought that the Brooklands Tenants Association would have rejoiced at the prospect of speedway being replaced by housing but a spokesperson for the group expressed "mixed feelings" about homes being built on the soccer ground! The Brentwood merger was dashed within weeks, however, when Brentwood Town FC was taken over by Chelmsford City.

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