Published: 11:07, 31 January 2020
| Updated: 16:56, 31 January 2020
A controversial scheme to develop a rallycross site has been passed.
Councillors last night voted through the application for Lydden Hill Race Circuit, which includes creating a new building and access road.
About 100 members of the public, for and against the £5.5 million scheme at Wootton, attended the Dover District Council headquarters for the debate at the planning committee meeting.
Cllr MJ Holloway, who moved for the application to be voted for, said: "There had been racing at Lydden Hill at least since 1947. This will provide significant employment benefits."
Cllr Roger Walkden, who seconded the motion, said: "Lydden Hill circuit was established before people in the surrounding villages moved there.
"This scheme would bring significant advantage to the district."
Cllr Peter Walker told the meeting: "Dover needs to revitalised. Jobs are needed and more leisure facilities are needed.
"Tourism now plays a big part in our future."
Cllr Walkers was one of eight extra speakers giving their views for or against the scheme.
Objectors feared noise and disruption for neighbouring residents.
Resident Penelope James told the meeting: "I understand the circuit must keep running but not at any cost.
"Have you had to communicate by text or been driven out of your home because the noise is so great?
"As for tourism the circuit has been very poorly attended over the last three years.
"It has not be able to have races on all 52 days in a year it is allowed to."
Cllr Peter Jull, supporting the objectors, said: "This has affected people in Denton and Wootton with noise, litter, fumes and traffic."
There were 12 times as many resident's letters in favour of the application than objecting.
By last night the figure had reached 1,224 for and 98 against.
It had been 964 versus 85 when the officers' report was published last Friday.
Circuit bosses want to knock down the site's existing two-storey administration building and put up a two to three-floor pavilion structure.
That would include office space, external viewing areas, function areas and six garages.
A new access road from Geddinge Lane is additionally wanted plus extra land for parking.
The applicant also asked for permission to carry on motor racing events 52 days a year but still no more than that.
But they also want to use the site for bicycle training and racing and learning and advanced driver tuition including for the police.
They also want to hold corporate events and motorsport experience days.
Dover District Council planning officers had recommended approval of the scheme.
The authority says that the the planning permission includes around 30 conditions, several of which are to provide more stringent noise monitoring than previous permissions.
This includes specified noise limits, and a more robust noise monitoring system.
Noise management will be reviewed by a consultative committee every six months for the first two years and annually after that.
A total of 49 silent days, including 10 weekends, also form part of the planning conditions. At these times, no motor vehicles may be used on the circuit.
Pat Doran, managing director at the circuit, told Kent Online after the meeting: "We've worked hard to do the right thing for the local people.
"When you think about it, it makes so much sense. This is to use the circuit for more than 52 days for things like cycling and have a new small building to make Dover proud."
Answering concerns about noise he said: "We are now under a lot more restrictions on our 52 days (of permitted racing). For example we have to put more noise monitors in.
"That is what we are giving back. "