Neighbour says noise ‘like having a swarm of bees buzzing in our heads’ as council moves to halt motocross operator

SPORTS promoter Andrew Villis has been accused by Fenland District Council of doing nothing to tackle noise nuisance at a 20 acre motocross track.

One resident told the council that it was “like having a swarm of bees buzzing in our heads for very long periods.”

And the neighbour pleaded: “Please will you and your enforcement officers do everything you can to ensure that it ceases as soon as possible? Over the last three years the motor sports at Block Fen have been a living nightmare for us and our family.”

Fenland Council says Mr Villis has failed to produce a report on noise levels at the Block Fen near Chatteris track, failed to identify those homes nearby most clearly affected, and failed to document measures to counter the noise.

In a report being considered by councillors they also accuse him of failing to show how the site, formerly used for minerals extraction, will be restored and of failing to show how ecological issues will be handled.

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Mr Villis of Welney is a director of Fenland Resources Management Ltd and a joint applicant with Hanson Quarry Products Ltd who are trying to get planning consent to use the site for the next five years for motor cross and to allow touring caravans onto the site.

The council says that Mr Villis has been running events at the track for the past three years but can only operate on 14 days a year without planning permission.

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A year ago the council issued a Stop Notice believing him to be operating for more days than that and to give him time to submit an application which did not get put in until September and was deficient in many areas.

Fenland Council says Mr Villis has not addressed how the former minerals waste site will be restored and they say that when told repeatedly he’s been operating without permission he replied that “he is contributing to the local economy and is providing a unique motor sports event site. There would, therefore, appear to be no intention of ceasing the use of the site pending the outcome of the planning process.”

Chatteris Town Council claims it is a “remote site and with few neighbours to disturb” but the parish council at Mepal believes differently. They say there have been numerous complaints over the years about noise which is having a “detrimental effect” on people’s quality of life.

“Mepal Outdoor Centre is jeopardised by the noise nuisance,” says the parish council pointing out too that the motor sports usage “runs entirely contrary to the minerals and waste plane and to local vision for the area.”

Fenland Planning Committee meets on Wednesday to vote on the application but officers say it ought to be refused.

A dozen local residents have also weighed in with their opposition, with complaints ranging from “high pitched whine” from the track to ineffective noise bunding, is “unbearably noisy and an extreme nuisance”.

Council officials say it appears noise and other issues are unlikely to be resolved within a reasonable timescale and although the economic benefit is one thing the council has to consider that “the community at large has an equal expectation that the planning process would be come to a reasoned decision”

They say Mr Villis has been given every opportunity to provide the extra information asked for by officer but this has not been achieved.

Other objectors include East Cambridgeshire District Council.

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