Two sides disagree on rights for motocross

The crowds turn out at the Wroxton Circuit (courtesy Roy Edwards) NNL-190514-143109001
The crowds turn out at the Wroxton Circuit (courtesy Roy Edwards) NNL-190514-143109001

Environmental health officers have been drawn into a dispute between residents of Hornton and organisers of a popular motocross site.

The Wroxton Motorcross Track runs 21 or more competitions each year but Hornton Parish Council claims the limit under planning law is 14.

Wroxton Motocross (courtesy Roy Edwards) 4 NNL-190514-143557001

Wroxton Motocross (courtesy Roy Edwards) 4 NNL-190514-143557001

John Offord, chairman of the parish council, said: “The track has been there a long time and is operated under ‘permitted rights’. That allows them to be on site for 28 days a year but only 14 racing days.

“Over the years there have been more and more events and each has got larger and larger. They’ve even had national events there.

“It means an awful lot of vehicles travelling on these little country lanes - but noise has become the biggest issue.

“When it was a small event some people complained but most tolerated the noise. Now the operation has grown in scale hugely.

“It used to be maybe 100 - 200 people there but now it’s up to 1,000 in breach of the planning rules.

“To have crowds over 350 they need to liaise with councils and prepare risk assessments.”

Mr Offord said the organising teams were on site the day before racing and again afterwards resulting in up to 42 days’ presence instead of a maximum of 28. He said the parish council had met with the organiser, Brian Pounder and landowner Sandra Curwood but neither believes they are breaking planning law.

“We got no positive result from them so we referred it to Cherwell District Council’s enforcement department,” said Mr Offord.

Mr Offord said the track is about half a mile from Hornton and that numerous large vehicles, cars and caravans use the country approach roads to reach the track.

“The noise affects some parts of the village more than others and it is especially bad when the wind is blowing in this direction,” he said.

“The problem is that most events are held in the summer months between 10am - 6pm when peple want some peace and quiet in their gardens.

“Most people would accept it if it were what they were entitled to but the size and frequency of the race meetings has been ramped up gradually and it’s now unacceptable.”

Landowner Sandra Curwood of Balscote said: “They brought this up last year and I went to a planning specialist who said we were within our permitted development rights.

“It’s possible it seemed worse last year because of the good weather and people were outside in their gardens more.

“It is a very good site and accessible and these things have to go somewhere. There would be a bigger problem with queueing on race days if people didn’t go there the night before.”

Organiser Mr Pounder said the club was allowed 28 events a year. “To say it’s only 14 race days is totally wrong,” he said.

“We’ve put in (to the council) ten years of dates. We’ve proved the numbers haven’t gone up. We’ve run 21 or more dates over the last ten years.”

Mr Pounder said the club had bought a noise reader and that there were no readings in Hornton over and above background noise levels. “You could faintly hear bikes but the loudest noise was a blackbird singing,” he said.

“We did get a visit from two of the Hornton parish councillors but that was the first we had heard of this. We are going to apply for a licence (for attendance). Wroxton is one of the three top tracks in the country. We usually have about 160 competitors and mums and dads come too so it can add up and there could be 400 - 500 there.”

Mr Pounder said the organisation did not think planning consent was needed for the toilets wind-breaks and he was waiting to hear the outcome of an investigation by Cherwell.