'We won't survive if we lose our appeal' say owners of family-run Ashover race track as petition to save site hits 12,000

The owners of a road race track in Ashover have said their family-run business ‘will not survive’ if they lose an appeal to overturn the council’s abatement notice, as a petition to save the track hits more than 12,000 signatures.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 10:23 am

Jenny Dring and her husband Barry claim North East Derbyshire County Council are ‘trying to close’ Butts Quarry – one of the country’s oldest race tracks which has been part of Ashover for more than 60 years – after they were served with an abatement noise notice on December 22, which would only permit them to open once a month.

It comes after the local authority received complaints from residents about alleged excessive noise coming from the track which is nestled between Chesterfield and Matlock.

However a petition to allow motorsports to continue to be held at Butts Quary has been signed more than 12,000 times from members of the Ashover community since it was created over a month ago.

Dalton Dring (left) with dad Barry Dring (right) at the track.

The couple from Wingerworth, who have a court date to appeal the council’s notice, shared that the conditions of the agreement which would permit them to only operate once a month and force all vehicles admitted on their track to meet a static noise test limit of 96 dBA, are ‘completely unachievable’.

Jenny, 56, and Barry, 55, would also only be allowed to run their endurance motorcycle events a maximum of 14 times per year under the new measures.

Previously, the business had an agreement with the council to only operate once every two weeks, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, along with noise testing where required.

Jenny said she and her husband have been told to expect legal costs of up to £20,000 appealing the abatement notice.

"We took it over five and a half years ago and then from day one we were getting complaints about polluting the river, footpaths, imported soils, planning, everything, but we literally ticked every single box", she added.

"We are closed and we are not not earning anything due to the pandemic and the appeal has already cost us £2,000 in legal fees so far.

"We wouldn't survive if we lose, it isn't just financially it is the decibel of noise they want us to operate at which is totally unachievable, bikes don’t run that quietly.”

A number of businesses have closed in Derbyshire during the course of the coronavirus crisis and the 56-year-old said their was a ‘real need’ to keep the track open after lockdown to help people’s well being.

Jenny commented: "It's perfect for what's happening in the country now because it's a very safe environment - you're all parked separately, we don't allow any mixing, they just get on the bikes and ride around the track.

"Male suicide is happening, it is a horrendous time for people and this is a much-needed facility.”

A spokesperson for North East Derbyshire District Council said: “Following complaints of noise from motorsport activity at Butts Quarry, an investigation by the council and an acoustics consultant determined that a statutory nuisance existed.

"The council is legally bound to serve an abatement notice where a nuisance is being caused.

"As this is an ongoing case the council cannot comment further at this time.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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