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.
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.
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.
"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.