Tell the bike to take a hike - plans for a permanent motocross track meet with objections

Mepal Moto Cross

Mepal Moto Cross - Credit: Archant

Steve Barclay MP has joined residents and parish councillors in urging planners to call time on a motocross track which they say disturbs wildlife and ruins the peace for local residents.

The track, based on rural land between Chatteris and Mepal, is allowed to run for 14 days a year without planning permission, but now owners want to create a permanent site that opens more often.

Track owners F15-MX want to increase use from 14 days a year to 114 days a year including every weekend from October to March.

In addition they want permission to open two weekends a month from April to September and every Wednesday.

An application is asking Fenland planners for change of use of land to motocross and recreational motorcycle riding with two storage containers, toilets, marshalling boxes, litter bins, waste skip and site cabin.

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They also want permission to add raised areas, race track, car parking, track fencing posts, railings and spectator fencing.

An application is lodged with Cambridgeshire County Council asking to postpone reverting the former gravel works into a nature reserve, which is currently required to be done in 2014.

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The track cannot exist unless the deferment is granted and opposition groups say the easiest permanent solution is to refuse this permission.

Mr Barclay said: “Granting permission will be a betrayal of the expectations of residents to go back on assurances that the former gravel extraction site will be turned into a nature reserve.

“Many people have contacted me to express their alarm at the significant amount of pollution and disruption that these proposals would bring.

“I’m committed to improving sport in our community but these proposals are misguided and goes against the long term plans of the parish.”

Mr Barclay has launched a petition and is urging residents to show their support.

A couple who live in Engine Bank, said the track, which is less than a mile from the Ouse Washes and Old Bedford River, is in the middle of land that should be overflow wetlands, lakes and grasslands set aside to develop wildlife habitat to support the Ouse Washes.

They said the area was: “frequented by many bird watchers, ramblers and fishermen. We are just under a mile from the track, we experience the dreadful noise that the track makes, and can witness how that same noise is currently disturbing the Hooper Swans that are using the field behind the motocross track at present.”

They added that the stress caused by the noise had been significant, and recorded a decibel increase of 20 when the bikes were running, above that recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Chatteris Town Council have recommended the application be refused because of the noise and detrimental impact on the local area.

They say it would ruin the open countryside and noise limits could not be enforced.

Mepal Parish Council strongly object because of unacceptable noise levels, instead they want to see the land turned back to natural regeneration to improve tourism and encourage wildlife back to the area.

The long term (50 year) development plan for the area is for extended wetlands and wildlife walks including a visitor centre.

The company insists that the site would provide a local facility for off-road motorcyclists living in the area and a wider customer base for people living further afield and the activity, by its very nature, requires a location which is not within a built-up urban area.

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