Motocross track to remain in place despite noise complaints
Twm Owen – Local Democracy Service
A motocross track built in a field next to a house in Cwmbran will be allowed to remain in place – despite neighbours having complained about noise.
Professional racer James Chorlton constructed the track in an agricultural field next to his home, at Primrose Cottage in Pentre Lane, Henllys, during the 2020 Covid lockdown so his son Connor, who also races competitively, could practice at home.
A planning application was made to Torfaen Borough Council after it began enforcement action having become aware of the complete circuit, including ramps and jumps of various sizes, which didn’t have planning permission.
The council’s planning committee considered the application at its August meeting, with it being recommended to approve a temporary permission for two years, and was addressed by neighbour Powella Menghi.
She complained the “enjoyment” of her family home had been “affected for the last two and a half years and our social life diminished” due to the track and told councillors: “We do not invite friends any more as we do not know when the track will be in use with all the noise and dust. They are a nuisance.
“It has taken a heavy burden on my stress and anxiety.”
The committee was advised it could approve the application with conditions ensuring it can only be used by applicant Mr Chorlton’s son and no more than two times a week for 45 minutes each, though there would be breaks between the 15 minute training sessions.
Ms Menghi had also claimed that the track has been used by up to three bikes and other off road vehicles and for up to four hours at a time and said the council’s noise report hadn’t assessed the impact at her property.
Pontnewynydd and Snatchwood Labour councillor Alfie Best asked if it would be possible for the permission to be revoked if it was found the track was being used for more than 45 minutes or by more than one person.
Head of planning Richard Lewis said the conditions could be monitored “and no doubt the residents will be monitoring that as well” and warned any breach of conditions could lead to prosecution and if there were “regular breaches” the committee could decide against renewing the temporary condition if a further application is made.
Pontnewydd Labour member Cllr Stuart Ashley asked if the use should be limited to set times so objectors would “know when this is happening.”
But council noise officer Peter Oates said when he had tested the noise levels they hadn’t exceeded what could be considered a “statutory nuisance” and in a countryside location similar noise from machinery, from grass cutting or hedge triming, could be expected.
He said: “You wouldn’t be able to predict when that happens or limit them through planning.”
Applicant Mr Chorlton had been expected to address the meeting but hadn’t attended at the Civic Centre in Pontypool.
The committee unanimously approved the temporary planning permission with conditions.
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