Motorcross track bid is turned down by planners

A bid to formalise a motorcross practice track in the Northumberland countryside has been turned down by planners.

But applicant Stephen Hogg has vowed to fight on for permission.

A retrospective application was submitted to change part of the ‘Engine House’ field at Causey Park Farm to a track, which would be open on Sundays or Wednesdays between April and October, with a maximum of four sessions a month.

But while Tritlington and West Chevington Council did not oppose the scheme and there was one letter of support, nine letters of objection were submitted by residents.

They raised concerns about inappropriate development in the Greenbelt, damage to the openness of the area, noise, highway safety and residential amenity.

Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Team also said that insufficient information had been provided about the potential noise impact.

The application was determined under delegated powers by council planners, who turned it down on the basis of adverse impact on residential amenity through increased noise, causing material harm to the openness of the Greenbelt and being detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.

The report by Tony Carter stated: ‘Motor sports can provide an exhilarating recreational experience for both participants and spectators. However, they are invariably noisy and can accordingly be detrimental to the peaceful amenity of rural communities if facilities for their practice are not properly located and controlled.

‘This particular motor sport requires a purpose-built track and facilities, which, as evidenced from the officers’ site visit, has had a seriously damaging effect on the environment through over-use of land.’

But Mr Hogg said the facility is a valuable amenity for youngsters.

“We ran motorcross at Eshott Haugh years ago for about ten years, but they built a caravan site next to it so we moved it to Causey Park on Sundays and odd times on Wednesdays,” he said.

“The police asked me if we could keep it going because it keeps the kids off the roads and it is a safe environment. It was somewhere for local kids to ride their bikes for fun. It is not a competition track and it’s been running fine for four years. We never had any complaints.

“The planners got to know about it and wanted to limit it to 14 days so I put the application in, but it has been turned down. I’m going to re-apply with a full noise assessment.”