Can you chip in to Kent Downs campaign as judicial review looms?

The countryside around the circuit is beautiful (pic WEPG)

Would you like to help campaigners in their battle to protect a swathe of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty from a highly damaging development?
Wootton Environment Protection Group is challenging Dover District Council’s decision to allow Lydden Hill race circuit to increase the days it can be used from 52 days a year to 364.
The council’s backing for the circuit means people living in nearby villages such as Denton, Shepherdswell and Wootton would have to suffer further intrusive noise, toxic fumes and extreme light pollution. However, WEPG has secured a judicial review of the decision and this is likely to be heard in the High Court in April or May.
Such moves do not of course come cheaply and the group has set up a crowdfunding page to help cover the cost.
A group spokesman said: “WEPG has worked tirelessly for years to protect our natural environment. We have already raised £15,000, but we need to raise a further £10,000 to challenge this damaging decision.
“We could really do with some help in protecting our beautiful and tranquil area for generations to come from this ruthless and ill-thought-out development.”
CPRE Kent supported the campaign during its early stages. A spokesman for the countryside charity said: “What we really want is Dover District Council to take seriously the need for proper controls at the circuit and engage in proper liaison with neighbouring communities.
“The present operations at Lydden respect neither the AONB nor the neighbours and the proposals would make matters even worse without proper controls and respect.
“Sadly, the only way forward, as things stand, is through a judicial review.” 
We’ll leave the final word to the WEPG spokesman: “If you can, please donate to our campaign and share what we’re doing with your family and friends. Every penny will be so very welcomed and appreciated. All administrative costs are absorbed by our volunteers.”

  • If you would like to contribute to the Wootton Environment Protection Group as it prepares for the High Court judicial review, please click here
  • For more on the expansion of Lydden Hill race circuit, click here

Monday, March 29, 2021

Lydden Hill circuit expansion approved by council

The proposals for the site in the Kent Downs AONB were challenged by Dover CPRE

The proposal to expand Lydden Hill racing circuit has been approved by Dover District Council.
Some 100 members of the public were at the DDC planning meeting last night (Thursday, January 30) to hear councillors back proposals to pull down the circuit’s two-storey administration building and replace it with a two- to three-floor pavilion including office space, external viewing areas, function areas and six garages. Permission for a new access road from Geddinge Lane and extra land for parking was also sought.
In addition, the applicant wanted permission to carry on motor-racing events 52 days a year as well as use the site for bicycle training and racing and advanced driver tuition. Further, there are plans for corporate events and motorsport experience days.
DDC planning officers had recommended approval of the scheme, but the local authority says the permission includes some 30 conditions, several relating to more stringent noise monitoring. Forty-nine ‘silent days’ including 10 weekends, when no motor vehicles can be used at the circuit, form part of those conditions.
Noise management will be reviewed every six months for the first two years and annually after that.
Councillor Michael Holloway moved for the application to be approved. “There had been racing at Lydden Hill at least since 1947,” he said. “This will provide significant employment benefits.”
Roger Walkden, seconding the motion, added: “Lydden Hill circuit was established before people in the surrounding villages moved there. This scheme would bring significant advantage to the district.”
Peter Walker was another councillor supporting the plans: “Dover needs to be revitalised. Jobs are needed and more leisure facilities are needed. Tourism now plays a big part in our future.”
Dover CPRE had objected to the scheme when it was first mooted in 2015 and maintained its opposition to what was being promoted.
Derek Wanstall, chairman, had said: “The circuit’s proposed expansion can only bring more noise and traffic problems to the nearby village of Wootton, plus the site is within an AONB. Residents’ tranquillity and quality of life can only deteriorate if the expansion is approved.”
Councillor Peter Jull supported objectors, saying: “This has affected people in Denton and Wootton with noise, litter, fumes and traffic.”
It was reported at the meeting that there were 1,224 letters in favour of the application and 98 opposing it.

  • For more on this story, see here and here

Wednesday, January 31, 2020

Have your say on plans to expand Lydden Hill racing circuit

The Lydden Hill circuit lies in the Kent Downs AONB

Long-running plans to expand Lydden Hill racing circuit in the Kent Downs AONB are likely to be decided upon in the spring… and you are urged to have your say on the proposals.
The owner of the site, close to the A2 north-west of Dover, wants to build two hospitality buildings, two grandstands, driving schools, a restaurant, offices, an industrial estate and an extended car park in a development it says would cost £6 million, while a new road would improve access between the A2 and the circuit.
It is also intended to triple the amount of days it is used, from 52 per year to 157. In addition to more race days, such intensification would entail such activities as driver tuition and testing, craft fairs and car shows.
Such an extensive development, together with the planned increase in days of operation, would have an undeniable impact on the surrounding area and those who live there.
Derek Wanstall, chairman of Dover CPRE, said: “The circuit’s proposed expansion can only bring more noise and traffic problems to the nearby village of Wootton, plus the site is within an AONB.
“Residents’ tranquillity and quality of life can only deteriorate if the expansion is approved.”
The proposals first materialised in 2015 and Dover District Council asked for further details, primarily in relation to noise management, before determining the application.
Now it must consider an amended planning application – and if you would like to comment on it you must do so by Friday, March 9.
CPRE Dover objected to the plan when it first appeared and maintains its opposition to what is being promoted at the circuit; accordingly, it will be commenting on the amended application.
Unsurprisingly, local people are deeply concerned by the plans, most notably:

  • The proposed increased activity – up to 157 days, including three-day weekends over three Bank Holiday weekends.
  • Noise levels and the continuing lack of a coherent noise management plan.
  • Impact on the environment, especially given that the circuit is in an AONB.
  • Race-day traffic management on the A2 and through neighbouring villages, and also during the period of development, planned for this spring, which it is feared would result in large trucks and vans driving through country lanes.

A spokesman for Wootton Environment Protection Group said: “Residents of Wootton and Shepherdswell have been complaining about the increased noise and disruption caused by the circuit over the past 10 years or so, yet Dover District Council does little about it.
“Despite two and a half years since the original application, the latest documents provided by Lydden Hill race circuit are confusing, inaccurate and incomplete.
“For example, there are still no coherent noise management or traffic management plans and, frankly, the new documents have done nothing to address local residents’ concerns on a wide range of issues.”
Well, hopefully you can do something by making your views known. Write to the case officer at Dover District Council outlining your objections in full; the reference is Planning Application 15/00827

Your letters should be addressed to:

Luke Blaskett
Planning Officer
Dover District Council
Whitfield
White Cliffs Business Park
Dover
CT16 3PJ

You can post directly to the case officer or upload online on the Dover District Council website.
All letters must be the group by Thursday, March 8.

Monday, February 26, 2018