Banburyshire motocross site expansion to 'international' status that would 'blight' lives in nearby villages is recommended for approval

A controversial plan to allow a motocross track near Banbury to expand to become an international venue for the sport has been recommended for planning approval.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 11:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Race day at the Wroxton Motocross track which lies between Balscote and Hornton
Race day at the Wroxton Motocross track which lies between Balscote and Hornton

The Wroxton motocross track began as a low-key facility offering 14 days' racing for the Banbury MX club but in the last four years, it has expanded and become a huge attraction for outside clubs and competitions. Competitors come from all over the country for race days, camping on the site.

As a result of enforcement action by Cherwell District Council, landowner Sandra Kerwood of Balscote, applied for planning permission for the track and up to 65 days' activity.

The matter comes up for decision-making at Thursday's planning committee with a recommendation that the track should be given approval, subject to conditions including one that the '65-days' should mean no more than 24 days' racing with set up days on either side.

An aerial photograph of the Banbury MX track as it was in 1981

However the planning officer's report shows major opposition from the parish councils of Hornton, Horley, Shenington and Wroxton as well as organisations such as the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. Previous Banbury Guardian coverage explained the villagers' concerns.

Some 200 letters of objection were received imploring the council to reject the expansion, limiting activity to the original purpose of local sport. Local residents have complained of 'incessant' loud noise spoiling their weekend peace and unacceptable traffic on the narrow lanes during meet weekends. Parish councils and some residents do not accept noise impact assessments provided as part of the application.

Letters supporting the application have also been included, with one the Banbury area but most from further afield from individuals who are involved in motocross and who recommend the track for its excellent provision for the sport.

The report also shows that the development goes against the National Planning Policy Framework in some areas but in his conclusion, planning officer George Smith said: "The principle of the motocross track development is considered acceptable and the development has no significant impact in heritage terms and, subject to conditions, is acceptable in terms of highway safety, residential amenity and landscape impact. The development has impacts on ecology and drainage/flood risk, which need to be resolved.

An aerial photo of the expanded track taken in 2019

"The proposal has some benefits in terms of sport and recreation though it contributes little to the economy. However, subject to resolution of the ecology and drainage issues, the adverse impacts of the development do not demonstrably outweigh the benefits and officers therefore recommend that planning permission be granted, subject to resolution of outstanding matters relating to ecology and drainage."

The full, 27-page report being presented to Cherwell's planning committee on Thursday afternoon can be seen here. Those wishing to see the debate and decision on this via the council webcam may find the link here.

The camping and parking area at the Wroxton Motocross Track
Villagers say huge earthworks have been undertaken to provide the expanded track
Competitors come from all over the UK to race at the Wroxton track
The application image of the Wroxton track whose expansion is recommended for approval
Vans and trailers queue up to get into the Wroxton motocross site