Plans for a motor sport track near Whittington have been met with fury.
The proposed 1.5-hectare facility would be sited on farmland south east of Ironside Lane, off Brookhay Road.
Along with the practice track would be an access drive and car park.
Semi-professional quad bike racer, Oli Sansom, from the West Midlands, says he needs the track to “practice his chosen sport”.
Without it, he said, he would have to travel as far as Derby to do his training.
He seeks permission to operate up to three machines on the track for six hours a day, six days a week. He wants to operate until 4pm on five of the days and up to 8pm on the sixth
A local resident who competes in international equestrian events, said: “If this proposal goes ahead, where will I go to exercise my horses?”
Horses forced out
Other horse riders too feared powerful quad bikes roaring by would prevent them using a nearby bridleway.
Walkers from Whittington, Fradley and Alrewas claimed the disturbance would stop them enjoying the rural tranquility.
Local environmentalists condemned Sansom’s proposed track because of the impact it would have on wildlife.
They said it would sit between two ancient woodlands – badger and deer populations would suffer.
Crossing the track
There was concern about great crested newts living in the area. The endangered amphibians are protected by law.
They spend much of their lives wandering far from their ponds. The population could be decimated by the quad bikes.
There were also fears about about oil and fuel spills polluting local watercourses.
As well as using the track for practice, Mr. Sansom aims to develop a rider training business on the site.
One objector, said: “We are not theorising about the impact [the training facility would have] but have first hand experience.”
He said the track had already been built without planning permission.
When it was in use earlier this year, he said, it, “had a devastating effect on local residents and would no doubt cause further misery in future”.
He added that there had been, “the noise of a high-pitched, high-revving, race tuned 250CC-plus motorcycle engine piercing the country air.”
There was also the, “continual ‘shotgun’ sound of the engine backfiring, which went on for hours,” he said.
Despite living 700 metres away from the track, the resident said it was difficult to hear people speaking in his garden while the quad bike was running.
Home values hit
Another resident, said: “This is going to be a disaster for us residents . . . who would chose to buy a property with constant noise from quad bikes?
“It will be a living hell!”
One person asked why Sansom needed a track near Whittington since he already had one in Walsall.
Another said the biker could use the, “excellent track”, near Burton, instead of, “ruining our countryside and probably impacting on the value of our properties.”
‘Bloody awful racket’
A farmer told the ‘Phoenix’ that when a quad bike was run on the proposal site a few months ago it made, “a bloody awful racket you could hear miles away.”
One of his neighbours, said: “This is an utterly selfish application for the benefit of one participant in a minority sporting and anti-social activity to the detriment of the local residents and wider public.”
District council “appalling”
The residents were also angry with Lichfield District Council’s (LDC) senior planning officer, Michael Brown.
The authority already has an appalling record of failure to communicate with the public.
It was alleged that LDC only let one resident in the area know about Sansom’s planning application.
A local home owner complained that the information Brown’s department had provided was misleading and unclear.
Others were, “appalled”, at the council’s handling of the issue.