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Stock car racing track plan at Manston Raceway gets angry reaction from residents

By Matt Leclere

Controversial plans to build a stock car racing track have been met with fierce opposition from neighbours.

Proposals for the circuit at the Manston Raceway on the outskirts of Thanet were submitted to council planners earlier this year.

Residents are fuming at the plans in the village of Sevenscore saying the countryside will be ruined if cars are allowed to race there.

A public consultation had 56 comments in favour of the racetrack application compared to 37 against
A public consultation had 56 comments in favour of the racetrack application compared to 37 against

But a consultation which closed this week revealed public support for the application outweighed the opposition - with 19 more comments in favour (56) than the 37 against.

The site was previously granted planning permission by Thanet District Council (TDC) in 1998 to become a go-kart track but the plans never materialised.

Applicants Ovalsport are submitting plans to request a change of use is granted to convert the land’s allocation to racing stock cars with temporary structures providing toilet, refreshments, commentary box, race office and an entrance kiosk.

They say the track would be used by 30 cars on an oval circuit on a maximum of 30 days per year on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays between March and October, providing three full-time jobs and 20 seasonal positions.

Opponents feel the plans will lead to traffic problems for the village on race days, noise, air pollution and harm to wildlife.

Tony Edwards, who has lived 300 metres from the site for the last 30 years, says the racetrack would be horrendous.

“It’s a lovely quiet spot. I was against the application for the go-kart track and I am against this,” he said.

A map showing the location of the proposed racing track
A map showing the location of the proposed racing track

“I think it could cause traffic problems in Minster, the lanes and passing traffic on the bypass.

“Any racing usually has commentary, which has to be louder than the racing.

"This commentary will also be between races - the noise to us would be horrendous.

“There is stated to be parking for 100 vehicles, so if 150 turned up, where would they park?

"Fumes from this in the right direction would be obnoxious.”

Katharine Gledhill added the track would cause "havoc to the peace of the countryside".

Other residents say they would welcome the proposals.

Neighbours are opposing plans for a stock car racing track a few hundred metres from their homes
Neighbours are opposing plans for a stock car racing track a few hundred metres from their homes

Andy Goff, who lives in Minster, said: “I am so shocked to see such negative reviews.

"This will bring people to the local area which will be wonderful for the local businesses in our little villages.

“We already have lots of noise from the trains and the main roads, so what harm are the cars doing?”

Natural England said it has no concerns about the development having a "significant adverse impact" on protected nature sites or the landscape.

But the council’s own environmental protection department raised concerns about giving the plans the green light.

Amanda Berry, environmental health officer for TDC, says in her report the application has not considered the noise impact caused by racing adding the plans must be refused due to the "significant impact on the health and quality of life to residents which must be prevented".

Network Rail also highlighted issues due to the close proximity to the Sevenscore level crossing on the edge of the site.

In its comments to council planners, the company says it is concerned by the increased number of vehicles on race days will affect the "usage and safety" of the automatic half-barrier crossing.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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