VILLAGERS turned out in force to witness plans for a controversial Moto-Cross course near their homes, thrown out by Stafford planners.
Families from Seighford and surrounding villages said the proposals, to lay down a large-scale motor bike track, would create intolerable noise for those living in the vicinity.
Councillors on Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee today rejected an application by AFP X Parc Midlands Ltd to convert grassland adjacent to the M6 motorway, opposite Doxey Marshes, despite a recommendation from planning officers to approve.
Around 60 protesters crammed into the public benches in Stafford’s Civic Centre to hear the debate. And despite appeals for silence from chairman, Councillor Stan Highfield, cheering and applause broke out when the committee voted by 11-2 to reject the plan.
Robert Turner, speaking on behalf of the villagers, told members that some might find it strange that people living so close to the motorway were concerned about noise.
“While the M6 is noisy, it is a constant, unchanging background noise that, after time, becomes less noticeable and less intrusive,” he said. The high-pitched rise and fall of motor bike engines would be a much greater nuisance, he added.
Members heard that the motor bikes would be limited to 95 decibels, though up to 60 bikes at any one time might be using the track.
Mr Turner told members, for comparison, that the sound of a jet aircraft taking off 300 metres away was 100 decibels.
Other members agreed with the concerns about noise, saying Derrington, Ranton, Creswell and Doxey would also be within range of the sound of the motor bikes.
Adrian Jones, representing the company, said that there was considerable support from people living in Stafford for such a facility. The nearest similar venues were as far away as Doncaster and Preston, he said.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust registered its concerns on the basis of the site’s proximity to Doxey Marshes nature reserve, a nationally important location for wildfowl.
Members also heard that the “mosquito” noise of the bikes would make life at a nearby residential home for vulnerable people, Burley Heights, “insufferable”.
John Holmes, the borough’s development manager, warned members that they’d rejected a similar application from Driveme, a company based at Seighford airfield, offering rally driving experiences, on noise grounds, and that decision had been overturned on appeal.