Cross fans slam track closure
Dunstable motocross fans have scrambled to social media to launch a campaign aimed at saving their beloved track.
Council officials moved to shut down the Dunstable MX track in Billington after a breach of operating conditions.
Now its owner, Steve Brooks, says that it’s uneconomic for him to reopen unless he can thrash out a new deal with Central Beds Council.
Mr Brooks took over the track a year ago and says that he was “hoodwinked” into believing that the authority had lifted all restrictions.
Since then the track has been transformed into one of the country’s top venues, attracting riders and fans from the whole UK, and it boasts an unblemished safety record.
Said Steve: “Years ago there were noise abatement orders and quite a few restrictions in place but I was hoodwinked into believing that they had all been lifted.”
In 1995 permission was given for the track on condition that it only operated between April and September.
Mr Brooks has been running the site throughout the year - until a complaint was lodged with the council. Officers gave them 28 days to shut down and the padlocks went on last Thursday.
“I had no idea about the opening hours,” said Steve. “In November I applied for a change in opening hours but the council turned me down - after officers had already said that there would be no problem.
“Unless I can operate throughout the year it just isn’t worth my while opening up. I can’t believe that we are a nuisance to anyone. There aren’t any homes anywhere near and our neighbours say that they’re not bothered by the track.
“This site is one of the best located tracks anywhere in the country. You’re always going to get a few complaints because people don’t want it near their big £750,000 homes but no-one can hear us.
“I’ve offered to increase the height of the bunds to improve sound-proofing and restrict opening from seven days to two - but all year round.
“This track attracts a lot of people who then go and spend money in Dunstable. Their business also supports three local specialist firms. We spend £2,500 a month at a company in Leighton. All that will be lost.”
Jason Bevan, who takes his 15-year-old son to the site, and works as a marshal, told the DG: “My son loves it. Since he took up the sport he’s turned his life around. He’s far more focussed and his whole attitude has changed.
“We take riders aged five and upwards. Not everyone loves football. This is a great family activity. It’s well marshalled and really safe.”
Ward councillor Mark Versallion said residents in Stanbridge had complained about the noise and breach of operating hours. He added: “As a petrol head myself I don’t want to stop the kids having somewhere like this to go but the operator has to obey the limitations in hours.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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