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Lease blow blamed by boss Smith.

SWAFFHAM promoter Tom Smith yesterday explained the circumstances behind the sudden cessation of greyhound racing at the Norfolk track on Friday, July 14, writes Paul Brown.

"Basically, we tried for years to get our lease sorted out so we would have security of tenure," he said. "But nothing ever came of it and, in the end, we had to give up. We were getting 70 paying customers on average on a Friday night, and there was no way we could continue to lose money like that."

Smith began to run the greyhound operation as a sub-lease from stock car promoter Vince Moody-who leases the track from owner Maurice Kirby-in December 1991, the sub-lease running for six years. Three years into the agreement Smith began legal moves to extend the tenure.

However, matters "drifted on until the beginning of January 1998" according to Smith's solicitor Hood, Vores & Allwood, when a meeting with Kirby and Moody proposed a lease to provide "security of tenure to enable [Smith] to proceed with plans for the raceway in confidence."

The issue remained unresolved until a letter from Moody to Smith on July 7, 1999, asked for pounds 35,000 to assign the overall lease to him.

Smith refused to accept the terms, and instructed Moody that he would vacate the premises by July 24 this year unless the situation was sorted out.

"Obviously we never came to an agreement," added Smith, "and so that was that. But I would like to thank all the trainers who stuck by us, I'm just sorry it had to end like this."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Brown, Paul (Football coach)
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 26, 2000
Words:263
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