The Gallaher Equation

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Our June Editorial was devoted to an attack on Gallaher Limited for their destruction of the Brooklands Track banking where Club driving-tests have been held in recent years, and for fencing-off the declared-preserved “40 Acres”. The Brooklands Society maintains that Surrey CC has reversed the original Planning Committee’s decision to save this part of the Track and it is attacking Council-leader Murray Bygraves and Mrs V. Waller on these grounds, accusing the lady of planning a site for an Aviation Museum, while ignoring the preservation of the Motor Course.

Gallaher’s say had they known what was required of them they might have managed differently but point out that they are repairing the Members banking where it runs towards the Railway straight from the Members’ bridge, which they are also re-instating, and that they have spent more than £245,000 on restoring the Paddock Clubhouse, and are also paying for seven years’ maintenance-fees, rates and insurance on other historic buildings, thus answering, on their terms, our challenge to them to “feel a twinge of conscience” over Brooklands.

Although the Clubhouse will form part of the eventual Aviation Museum, the future of which is the responsibility of Elmbridge Borough Council and in which the Weybridge Museum has a vested interest, Mr C. E. H. Walker, Gallaher’s Company Secretary, has stated that his Company intends “to continue to work with everyone who is interested in helping the future of Brooklands and its Museum, and that he hopes all those who want to see the history and development of the motor car fully and proudly presented at the 30-acre Brooklands site will join in a constructive effort to make the future Museum a success and so give the public a chance to enjoy this”. We can but wait now to see the outcome of this battle between Brian Dinsley, Chairman of the BS, and Gallaher, hoping that it will, in the end, benefit the motoring community.

Whether a “circuit” will ever be possible, using the “new” banking, the runway (where for the first time since 1939 the BS held a timed speed-event at Brooklands this summer), and that part of the Byfleet banking used by the BS, we do not profess to know. But how nice that would be!

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