Organisers of a youth motocross club say they are shocked and saddened by the council’s decision to ban the use of motorbikes on a Purbeck farm.
Two clubs have now been kicked off West Hill Farm in Kingston by Purbeck District Council, despite being located in a 2,000-acre site and only held on Saturday afternoons.
One organiser, Vincent Page, of the Off-Road Promoters Association, says he carried out noise level tests to ensure there would be no impact on nearby houses. He said: “We did everything within the rules – we didn’t touch the land, we provided insurance and safety measures. The police are always asking for somewhere for young bikers to go, and this was perfect – it’s ridiculously remote. “Now these kids have nowhere and they’ll just go back on the streets where they are a nuisance.”
The clubs were set up in response to last year’s call by the Local Government Association to seize and crush nuisance mini-motos and hand out Asbos to the riders.
Ady Solomon, who ran a club at West Hill Farm until the council threatened enforcement action against him earlier this year, said: “We wanted somewhere for kids to go that was safe and out of people’s way. “We had all ages and backgrounds, and it was fantastic. But then the council stepped in, and their attitude has been disgusting.”
Purbeck planning board says it received “a considerable number of complaints” about noise and the “principle of allowing such activities in the Area of Outstanding Beauty”. Principal planning officer Alan Davies said: “Who knows how this thing might snowball in terms of car parking, physical and visual impact on the environment and noise? We are simply bringing it under council control. There are places that have planning permission in the area which they can use, with proper facilities, and if they want to submit a planning application it will be considered on its merits.”
The farmer who runs the land, Steve Fry, says none of the complaints actually came from Kingston residents and were drummed up because the council did not like the principle of the club.
Officers say the letters of complaint are private and chose not to discuss where they were from. The letters were not shown to the councillors on the planning board before they voted on the ban.
Bournemouth Daily Echo, Tuesday 12th September 2006