Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the first application of the meeting, application number 142855, for an Automotive Research and Development Centre at Blyton Park Driving Centre, Kirton Road, Blyton. This item had been deferred from the Committee’s previous meeting, with a site visit having taken place in the intervening time.


The Planning Officer stated that there were no other updates from the report. The Chairman stated that there were three registered speakers regarding the application. He then invited the first, Mr Alistair Wood, Agent for the Applicant, to address the Committee.


Mr Wood stated that following the site visit, Members should better understand the Driving Centre’s operation on a typical day. The agent stated that the main Research and Development facility was to diversify the business and driving centre. The agent stated that the site operated every day.


Regarding the potential noise, the agent stated that the noise was monitored, and that any issue regarding potential increased noise would not be the case. The speaker referred to the new accommodation of electric vehicles, giving way to a net reduction in noise. The agent aimed to specifically answer queries from the objector raised at the previous meeting regarding noise level issues. The agent stated that the old airfield had been used for motor vehicles for a long time, referencing that the burial ground started operation in 2010, with the current set up of the driving centre having existed at the time. He referred to issues of increased usage, stating that usage would have a net reduction and stated that the driving centre had worked with the Green Burial site regarding notification of funerals, and reaffirmed that they would still co-operate with the business regardless of any decision made by the Committee.


With regards to the points about the usage of other buildings, the agent stated that the proposed building had to be close to the track in order to facilitate the necessary research and development aspects of the proposal.  He explained that it was low profile within the landscape, designed to not appear out of place, and whilst also contemporary, was supposed to reflect previous buildings on the site, notably the air tower. He went on to state that granting the application would allow for the business to diversify and expand locally, in addition to the development of electric cars generally. The agent concluded by stating that the applicant and application would work with the local plans.


The Chairman thanked Mr Wood for his comments and noted that the first of the registered objectors to the application, Mr and Mrs Hatch, had submitted a statement to be read on their behalf. He invited the Democratic Services Officer to read the following statement.


“Dear Sir/ Madam,


“I am writing to give my statement about our concerns with the proposed development of the Blyton Racetrack. 


“Our main concerns are the following.


“One. Noise. The current system of measuring noise is inadequate being just one unit and on the first corner.   It is almost laughable that the site itself can monitor its own noise levels. Motorbike track days are significantly louder than car track days. However, the organisers promote publicly on social media sites how to 'avoid' or 'bypass' the noise restrictions. Advice such as short-shifting near the sound meter, taking the first corner in third gear, not second, before going full throttle after the monitoring station. The Gtec Performance Ducati days even boast about how loud they are. It is general knowledge in the racing community (evidence on public social media sites and multiple forums mocking the supposed noise control) that you can be loud at Blyton Race Track as no-one cares or does anything about it.    It is essential this measuring device is independently managed and multiple measuring devices should be used at various points on the track. This would then have a fair assessment of what the noise levels actually are. 


“Two. Increase usage: Adding to the amenities of the track (such as the pit garages) will make the business more attractive to potential users and hence more popular. Whether it is for electric use or not, it will become more popular - fact. The planning officers should look carefully at hours of use per day/week, not just bookings per day. Some current bookings can be for very short periods of the day, just one or two hours. The comment ‘we are running at full capacity’ is simply not true.


“Three. Inaccurate description of intended use. I hope the planning officers have carefully looked at this application and not been blind-sided by the possible ‘green element’. What if the green element doesn’t happen? Possibly too late then for the residents. If this application did not mention wind power, charging points, solar panels etc – would this application be considered?


“Four. Eye-sore – We hope this application does not obtain approval but if it does, please consider locations where additional buildings can be built where they will not be seen by residents. I believe this is achievable behind the current green storage / party shed.


“Thank you for reading out our statement.”


The Chairman then invited the second objector, Mr Gordon Tulley, to address the Committee.


At the beginning, the speaker inferred that he had previously had a lot of experience with manufacturing tyres, and felt qualified to speak on the effect of tyres. During his statement, Mr Tulley made reference to slides on the screen, showing the effect of tyres had on noise. Regarding this matter, he stated that at 50 miles per hour, the decibels on an electric car would be 107.5 decibels, which was far in excess of the permitted noise level.


In his statement, the speaker spoke about ‘green washing’ and referred to the Competition and Markets Authority’s new standards, in that relevant information should not be omitted or hidden and the business had to consider the total impact of services.


The speaker went on to mention the past banning of electric vehicles on the site, including quite recently in November 2021 for track days. He referred to a report provided by the business in its consideration for the application and noted that it only had the word ‘tyre’ once in the whole report, something he considered to be something of an omission. He added that, in his experience, there were no track tyres for electric cars available, inferring that road tyres made far more noise due to the grooves in the tyres. He concluded his statement by noting that there were no high-speed charging ports for cars planned in the application.


The Chairman thanked Mr Tulley for his statement. With no further comments from the Officer, the Chairman invited comments from the Committee.


The Chairman stated that he had found the site visit useful. Members who had attended the site visit, and those who had visited independently also found visiting the site beneficial, stating that it placed the application into context.


Regarding the issue of tyre noise, Members commented that they did not expect tyre noise to be an issue. One Member raised that he had experience of driving an electric car, and that due to the severely reduced engine noise, the main thing he could hear was tyre noise. Another Member commented that during the site visit, even with the wind blowing, the noise from the track was not excessive.


On the building issue, a Member commented that what they looked at was the actual site plan, including the proposed building, turbines, and solar panels. The Member then went on to state that he did not think this development would impact the noise level. Regarding some of the objections and the usage of the site, one Member stated that these objections were about existing use on an established site, whilst the application was looking at the future use. The Member went on to state that they were satisfied with the internal operation of the Driving Centre, and the actions taken to work with the neighbours of the applicants.


With the application having been proposed and seconded, on voting it was agreed that permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions:


Conditions stating the time by which the development must be commenced:


1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.


Reason:To conform with Section 91 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).


Conditions which apply or require matters to be agreed before the development commenced:


2. The developer must notify the Ministry of Defence, at least 14 days prior to the commencement of the development, of the following information:


a)    the date of the commencement of the erection of wind turbine generators;

b)    the maximum height of any construction equipment to be used in the erection of the wind turbines;

c)    the date any wind turbine generators are brought into use;

d)    the latitude and longitude and maximum heights of each wind turbine generator, and any anemometer mast(s).


Details of the notification to the MoD shall be submitted to the Local Planning Authority prior to the commencement of development.


See also advice note below.


Reason: In the interest of maintaining aviation safety.


3. No development shall take place until, suitably qualified contaminated land assessments and associated remedial strategy with none technical summaries, conclusions and recommendations, together with a timetable of works, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and the measures approved in that scheme shall be fully implemented. [Outcomes shall appropriately reflect end use and when combining another investigative purpose have a dedicated contaminative summary with justifications cross referenced]. The scheme shall include all of the following measures unless the LPA dispenses with any such requirement specifically in writing:


a)    The contaminated land assessment shall include a desk study to be submitted to the LPA for approval. The desk study shall detail the history of the site uses and propose a site investigation strategy based on the relevant information discovered by the desk study. The strategy shall be approved by the LPA prior to investigations commencing on site.

b)    The site investigation, including relevant soil, soil gas, surface and groundwater sampling, shall be carried out by a suitably qualified and accredited consultant/contractor in accordance with a Quality Assured sampling and analysis methodology.

c)    A site investigation report detailing all investigative works and sampling on site, together with the results of analysis, risk assessment to any receptors and a proposed remediation strategy shall be submitted to the LPA. The LPA shall approve such remedial works as required prior to any remediation commencing on site. The works shall be of such a nature as to render harmless the identified contamination given the proposed end-use of the site and surrounding environment including any controlled waters.

d)    Approved remediation works shall be carried out in full on site under a quality assurance scheme to demonstrate compliance with the proposed methodology and best practice guidance. If during the works contamination is encountered which has not previously been identified then the additional contamination shall be fully assessed and an appropriate remediation scheme agreed with the LPA.

e)    Upon completion of the works, this condition shall not be discharged until a closure report has been submitted to and approved by the LPA. The closure report shall include details of the proposed remediation works and quality assurance certificates to show that the works have been carried out in full in accordance with the approved methodology. Details of any post-remedial sampling and analysis to show the site has reached the required clean-up criteria shall be included in the closure report together with the necessary documentation detailing what waste materials have been removed from the site.


Reason: In order to safeguard human health and the water environment and identify potential contamination on-site to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework and local policy LP16 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Conditions which apply or are to be observed during the course of the development:


4. The drainage scheme as shown on drawing: ‘BLTN-BSP-ZZ-00-DR-C-SK240 Rev P01’ and ‘Novo UK42 Gravity’ shall be installed prior to the use of the building commencing and shall be retained and maintained in working order for the lifetime of the development.


Reason: To ensure the drainage scheme is adequately installed to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework and Policy LP14 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


5. Prior to development above damp proof course, details of a historic interpretation board including details of its proposed location and contents shall be submitted to and approved in writing with the Local Planning Authority. The board shall be installed prior to the use of the building commencing and shall be maintained during the lifetime of the development.


Reason: To ensure that the board is accurate and well-designed to suitably offset the impacts on the historic environment in accordance with policy LP25 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.


6. Any site clearance works must be carried out outside of the breeding bird season (1st March to 31st August inclusive) in accordance with the recommendations of the Preliminary Ecology Appraisal by Brooks Ecological Ref: ER-5622-01A dated 09/08/2021.


Reason: In the interest of nature conservation to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework and local policy LP21 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


7. The materials used in the development shall match those stated on the following drawing(s): BLY-03 dated 12 May 2021.


Reason: To ensure the use of appropriate materials to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework and Policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


8. With the exception of the detailed matters referred to by the conditions of this consent, the development hereby approved shall be carried out in accordance with the following drawings: BLY-02B dated 03 Aug 2021, BLY-03 dated 12 May 2021 and BLY-05A dated 03 Aug 2021. The works shall be carried out in accordance with the details shown on the approved plans and in any other approved documents forming part of the application.


Reason: To ensure the development proceeds in accordance with the approved plans and to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework and policy LP17 and LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


Conditions which apply or relate to matters which are to be observed following completion of the development:


9. Development shall proceed in accordance with S. & D. Garritt Ltd. REPORT OF NOISE IMPACT ASSESSMENT. No body work or panel beating shall take place in the pit garage units.


Reason: In the interest of residential amenity and to accord with policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


10. No lighting shall be installed on the site unless details including hours of illumination have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. It shall then be operated in accordance with the approved details.


Reason: To safeguard the occupants of nearby housing from excessive illumination in accordance with Policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire local Plan.


11. The use hereby permitted shall not be operational outside the following times; between 0700hrs and 1900hrs Monday to Sunday including Bank Holidays.


Reason: In the interests of residential amenity and to accord with the National Planning Policy Framework LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.



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