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Tuesday, 17 May 2011 (3015068)
Motocross users launch bid to save track after council wins planning battle
by David Simister

THE users of a West Lancashire motocross track have this week launched a last-ditch bid to keep it open after the borough council won its battle to shut it down.

Riders who use the MX track at the Leisure Lakes site in Tarleton told The Champion they would fight to keep the facility open after a borough council planning enforcement order against its operators was backed up this week by a Planning Inspectorate ruling.

Paul Smith, the site's owner and operator, said:

“We at leisure lakes mx are disappointed at the decision by the planning inspector. In June 2009 we got the result from

the previous Public Inquiry which granted planning permission, but the council challenged his decision and got it quashed in the High court in Manchester. So this decision is the result of a second Public inquiry which yet we could challenge in the High court. What is more ridiculous in this case is that we have a legal agreement with West Lancashire Council which as been agreed in court and signed by the District judge to operate the track with restrictions which we operate by. The issue is with the land that the track is on.

”We at Leisure lakes do appreciate that Residents do like to spend time in there gardens and every right to do so, but also the people who attend leisure lakes have a right to do their chosen sport which is motocross and quad riding. So this is were the agreement came into force as it gives the track operation every other weekend for one day for five hours, with every fourth weekend no operation at all for motorcycles but more so plenty of time for the residents to spend time in there gardens. We will take time to see what we will be considering or course of action we will be taking if any, I don't consider four years of work and a large amount of investment to be thrown away and with a large amount of support from the residents and riders I'm sure this wont be the end of Leisure Lakes.“

But West Lancashire Borough Council said that the planning enforcement notice was instigated not only because it is breach of the local authority's green belt policy, but also because the noise from the motorbikes had created misery for nearby residents, and attracted no less than 33 different complaints.

Councillor Martin Forshaw, portfolio holder for Planning, said:

”We welcome this decision by the Planning Inspectorate to dismiss the appeal by Leisure Lakes and uphold the enforcement notice. The council views breaches of planning very seriously, particularly those breaches which have a significant detrimental impact on Green Belt and the amenity of local residents.

“In this case, local residents in and around Mere Brow have been forced to put up with the noise from this site which has had a serious impact on the enjoyment of their properties. This site received more complaints regarding noise than any other in the last four years and I’m pleased residents will finally see it come to an end.”

The site now has until June 4 to cease operating. If the enforcement notice is not adhered to, Leisure Lakes could face prosecution by West Lancashire Borough Council.


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