Rother planners have tightened restrictions governing the use of a pit bike practice track near Bexhill.
On Thursday, March 14, Rother District Council’s planning committee considered proposals for a field off of Coneyburrow Lane to continue being used as a practice track for pit bike riders.
The application had been met by strong opposition from local residents, who say noise from its 15 days of operation each year cause misery in the summer months.
During the meeting, Vicki Everson, a petitioner representing a group of neighbours who oppose the use of the track, said:
“The constant revving and drone of motorbikes, from 10am to 4pm every other Sunday, from April through to the end of October – unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of our homes and gardens.
“It causes immense mental stress, anxiety and also exhaustion for working residents whose only day off is a Sunday.
“There is no escape from the incessant noise.”
Mrs Everson also told the committee she and her husband had met with the operator of the site for mediation sessions in an effort to prevent the site operating on Sundays, but said they could not reach an agreement.
The applicant, UK Pit Bikes, did not attend the meeting but submitted a number of letters of support from riders who use the site.
In one letter, a supporter said:
“I would hate to see the track close as I go there with my boys who love to ride and it brings us closer together as a family and with the local community.
“If it was to close then we would have to ride where we can, which can lead to problems with police and local authorities.”
The applicant also argued the site had already been investigated by the council’s environmental health team and was not found to be a statutory nuisance.
Before making a decision, the committee heard how the site had been used informally – but legally – by bike riders under permitted development rights since at least 2012.
This changed when the applicant was granted temporary planning permission in 2016.
By granting this temporary planning permission, the committee heard, the council was able to introduce conditions intended to reduce its impact on neighbours.
The original conditions limited the use of the site exclusively to pit bikes, with larger motocross bikes prevented from using the site.
It also limited the number of days the track could operate to 15 per year – one more than if it continued to operate under permitted development rights.
In response to the application for full planning permission, officers had recommended for the conditions to be beefed up in an attempt to reduce noise from the site.
These conditions included a requirement for engine exhausts to be muffled and for queuing bikes to keep their engines off.
These rules were already informally in place at the track, according to documents submitted by the applicant.
The council also asked for a list of future opening dates and for a noise assessment to take place.
However, in granting planning permission, committee members asked for further conditions to be added, including a requirement for engines to be limited to the smallest type available.
They also asked for the site not to open on Sundays despite the applicant’s wishes to operate on this day.
(By Huw Oxburgh – Local Democracy Reporter)