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Speedway boss Roger Cearns wins fight for later races at Central Park Stadium, Sittingbourne

Sittingbourne’s Kent Speedway has been granted a temporary extension to its racing hours on Friday nights, despite opposition from nearby residents.

The motorbike circuit, at Central Park Stadium, will now be able to host races between 6pm and 9.10pm (9.30pm if there needs to be re-runs) – much later than its regular 8.30pm curfew.

Despite a recommendation from the Swale planning department to refuse the request, councillors voted to allow the change for the next 18 months.

Speedway at Central Park Stadium
Speedway at Central Park Stadium

This is in accordance with the original four-year trial period stadium boss Roger Cearns was given when he originally applied to host speedway.

In 2016, the planning committee will review whether the sport should continue at the venue at all.

All previous attempts to hold races any later in the evening have been met with stiff opposition from people living near the stadium, who claim the noise is unbearable.

Hilary Apps, who stays in Meeres Court Lane – just a few hundred yards from the Eurolink venue – spoke at the planning committee meeting to object to the proposal.

She urged members to reject the application, arguing the noise from the races mean it is too loud for her to open her windows or sit in her garden.

Kent Speedway chairman, Roger Cearns
Kent Speedway chairman, Roger Cearns

She added: “Speedway claims the acoustic barrier is working. Well, that is not true.”

In total, the application received 14 letters of objection.

However, a petition urging councillors to rethink a previous refusal to allow later race meetings has garnered more than 1,000 signatures in six months.

Speaking about the decision to allow races to go on later, Mr Cearns said: “It is good news, although I’ve not seen the final terms and conditions.

“[The change] allows us to run elite team speedway.”

Mr Cearns previously said extending race times would encourage more fans to visit the area and attract top Speedway stars to the venue.

In the past the venue has staged 19 National League Division Three matches over the summer, attracting up to 700 fans per meeting.

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