Dreams of establishing a new motocross track on the Isle of Wight have been crushed by the Isle of Wight Council.
MotoXIOW had hoped to start racing at a track in Brighstone but the club has been served a permanent stop notice by the Isle of Wight Council this month.
Earlier this summer, a temporary stop notice was placed on MotoXIOW’s recently-built track by the council following noise complaints, which led to a number of site visits and assessments.
MotoXIOW said no detailed sound tests were taken at these visits and the evidence provided to them was ‘the subjective opinion of one inspector’ rather than any equipment being used.
The club had hoped to open the track twice a month through the summer and had recently announced a scheme for children in care, offering free access to the sport.
The temporary notice served meant all meetings had to be cancelled and the track could not be used for any motocross event. A petition was then started which amassed more than 2,180 signatures and pleas were made to support the club’s future.
Now, the permanent notice has stopped any further activity and meetings at the 10-acre site, which sits off the Military Road.
The council has demanded the removal of signs, saying meetings would ’cause significant harm to residential amenity and to the local protected landscape’.
It also said the permanent notice had been issued due to concerns motocross activities may have started again after the end of the temporary one.
A spokesperson for the council said:
“The site is within the Area of Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast and is visible from higher neighbouring land (around Mottistone Manor and Brook Hill House) and the nearby rights of way.
“Due to the nature of works undertaken, it is not deemed to benefit from permitted development rights and therefore a breach of planning legislation had occurred.”
The club says it has been operating under permitted development orders which specifically allow the use of farmland to be used for motorsport activities for up to 28 days a year but the council has just ‘clamped down’, ‘leaving no room for discussion’.
The council has also issued a planning enforcement notice, as well as the permanent stop notice, which means the land must be put back to its former state and the site cannot be used for motorsports.
MotoXIOW said it will appeal the council’s decision and hoped to reach a compromise to allow the much-needed facility to keep operating.
Ben Collins, chairman of MotoXIOW, said:
“Maintaining this facility is vital to reducing the illegal riding of bikes on the Island. We are heavily supported and feel there is a significant need for a safe, regulated space for all ages to participate in the sport.
“We abide by all the regulations, ensure that no bikes run above the sound levels advised by the Motocross Federation and leave no litter behind.
“We have made a real effort to ensure that the local wildlife will benefit from the field.
“We are open to suggestions and very willing to make amendments to the site, although our offers have been repeatedly shut down, which we find deeply disappointing.”
The Motocross Federation, the UK’s governing body for the sport, has expressed its surprise and disappointment at the council’s decision, saying it is unheard of for a local council to move ahead so quickly with a decision without attempting to reach a level of compromise, or allowing alterations to be made.