CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a scrambling track in the countryside have come under fire from a coalition of village leaders.
The parish councils of Odiham, Greywell, Long Sutton and Well, South Warnborough and Upton Grey have slammed a bid by Hart Council leader Robert Benford to build the motocross circuit in a field on his farm close to RAF Odiham.
Village leaders have unanimously agreed to oppose the motor sports park on a 34-acre field.
Johnny Fielding, chairman of South Warnborough Parish Council, said the development was totally out of place and was contrary to Hart Council’s Local Plan, which seeks to preserve rural areas.
He warned the proposal would generate high levels of noise that would be heard in all the villages, especially at weekends when major events would be held but also throughout the week.
Mr Fielding said that at the recent demonstration trial a maximum of four motorcycles and two quad bikes were on the circuit at one time, but even so the noise was widely heard.
He also warned that fuel, oil and the detergents from washing down the motorcycles would contaminate the ground and then flow into the River Whitewater and downstream to the Sites of Special Scientific Interest at Greywell Fen and Greywell Moor.
Parish councillors are also worried that the plans also include lavatories and parking for up to 84 competitors’ vehicles, while the field would be bulldozed to create jumps.
“These changes would reduce the field to an ugly wasteland and destroy the relatively unspoilt line of Ford Lane to the south of the site,” warned Mr Fielding.
He also pointed out that the site and surrounding fields were home to, or a food source for, protected species of birds such as grey partridges and barn owls. Badgers, a protected species, have a sett within 150 metres of the site.
Mr Fielding warned that to reach the site traffic would have to turn off the dangerous B3349, the scene of a number of death crashes and other serious accidents, into Ford Lane, a narrow lane running between grass verges and ditches.
“Ford Lane could become clogged and traffic would then back up on to the B3349,” he said.
“Dust from the site would also blow across the B3349, creating a hazard to drivers.”
Cllr Benford said the crisis in the farming industry had led him to look at other ways of making money at his 400-acre farm.
“We believe that our location, expertise and resources provide a unique opportunity to create a national class facility for training, recreation and competition for motocross riders,” he said.
“We can provide a first class facility in an appropriate location — something of which the community can be proud and which exists in harmony with its neighbours.”
Cllr Benford said the field chosen for the race circuit was in a valley to minimise the visual and noise impact.
He said noise levels would be subject to monitoring by the local authority, which has the power to stop events if guidelines are not met.
Hundreds of people are expected to attack the proposal during a public meeting at Lord Wandsworth College, Long Sutton, on Thursday at 8pm.