Here’s why Bexhill’s remote-controlled race track has only been given temporary permission

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On Thursday March 10, the Rother District Council Planning Committee gave 1066 Racing a two-year deal to create a fenced-in race track for electric remote control cars at St Mary’s Recreation Ground.

The club had applied for permanent permission for the track, but the committee were concerned about the potential for noise disturbance to surrounding residents, arguing that use would need to be tested before permanent permission was granted.

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Noise concerns had been expressed by a number of objectors before and during the meeting. They included public speaker Des Moxam, who said: ‘These cars are loud and could clearly be heard on demo day in August 2020, based on claimants’ statement [there would be] “little or no noise” is not enough.

An RC track similar to that proposed for Bexhill

“Who is going to make sure that no one is using extremely loud Nitro RC cars when no one from 1066 Racing is present? To say it’s like a BMX track is not enough. There is a distinct legal difference between a BMX and a motorcycle, but very little difference between the two types of car models.

Mr Moxam went on to say that other elements of the proposals (such as parking) would also cause unacceptable disruption to nearby residents and that there were more suitable sites for such a track elsewhere in the city.

Tensions had risen during the meeting as a large number of objectors were present in the council chamber. At one point the meeting was adjourned due to comments shouted from the public gallery following disagreement over when the recreation ground had last housed a sports club.

Even so, opponents’ concerns were shared by a number of committee members, including Cllr Gary Curtis (Con), who argued the proposals were “a square peg in a round hole” as he believed they would be more suitable for an industrial site. .

However, some other councilors were of a different opinion, including ward councilors Sam Coleman (Lab) and James Carroll (Con).

Cllr Coleman said: ‘These little EVs are quiet, barely audible among the sounds of nearby lawn mowers. The track is small and compact, taking up much less space than the sports that were regularly played there.

“Parking is more than adequate and at larger events procedures are in place, as detailed in the report, for parking to take place around the track.

“The app is also beginning what I hope will be a regeneration of this recreation ground, to become a place of recreation again. Sidley Cricket Club needs a home and this app would provide them with the opportunity to share the site between clubs ensuring long term sustainability.

Cllr Carroll said: “I know there are some things people might disagree with but we can work things out.

“This area has been built for public use and with the way Sidley is going we need these areas to be kept for sports and recreation.”

Meanwhile, officers, who had recommended the application be approved, pointed out that the council’s environmental health team had not raised concerns about noise pollution.

As no objections had been raised by the council’s environmental health team, councilors eventually decided to grant temporary permission to test the impact of the running track.

Presenting this proposal, Cllr John Barnes (Con) argued that the committee did not know enough to make a permanent decision at this stage.

He also argued that officers should explore what other noise control conditions could be imposed. This was agreed as part of this temporary authorization.

The request follows a cabinet meeting in January last year which saw council leaders agree to lease part of the recreation grounds to 1066 Racing.

At the time the club said it would only operate from the summer, although in the long term (and finances permitting) the club is considering installing astroturfing, which would would operate later in the year than on a grass course.

This was not part of the approved plans and had even met with some opposition from some committee members.

For full details of the proposals, see application reference RR/2021/2252/P on the Rother District Council website.

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