The Herefordshire owner of an off-road motorbike track is bidding to have a ban on its use overturned.
Richard Hyett has applied for a certificate of lawfulness for his circuit at Riley Hill Farm, Cradley near Malvern, claiming its use is now effectively immune from prosecution.
Mr Hyett explained that the track had helped his son James to become UK champion in his class aged just 9, and later represent the UK at the junior motocross world championship.
So-called permitted development rights allow such tracks to be used for up to 14 days a year without formal permission. But in August last year, the council served an “article 4 direction” on Mr Hyett suspending this right and requiring him to make a full planning application before he could continue to use it.
This followed a recommendation by a council committee that among measures to support its declared climate and ecological emergency, the council should suspend the right to temporary off-road motorsports events, in order “to develop a more considered approach to the sport which acknowledges its impact on environment and ecology”.
But Mr Hyett now argues that as racing and practising at the circuit had been going on for over 10 years before it was suspended, this has now achieved immunity from enforcement action by Herefordshire Council, and is asking the council to acknowledge this.
In a sworn statement with his application, he said: “We have openly used the track from when it was constructed in 2009 for more than 14 days in every year for practising and racing” – though not since the council’s direction was served.
Also in a sworn statement with supporting evidence, Cotswold MX Club chairman Robert Baker backed up the claim that the track had been in continuous use since 2009.
A further ten fans of the sport have submitted statements supporting Mr Hyett’s bid, pointing out its safe use by children, its qualities as a venue, and the declining number of such facilities in the region.
The council says it aims to decide on the application, numbered 223306, by December 16.
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