8:30am Tuesday 17th January 2012
By Kathryn Bradley
A motor sports venue used by a 12-time works champion biker faces a ban after falling foul of planning rules.
Bradford Council is to ban off-road bikers from Rough Holden Farm in Holden Lane, Silsden, for 50 weeks of the year.
The farm has hosted Bradford and District Motor Club events for at least ten years and is where world champion trials biker Dougie Lampkin MBE from Silsden practised.
Council planning chiefs are taking action under the Town and Country Planning Act, which means motor sports will only be allowed on the site for 14 days a year.
However, landowner Ian Boothman, who was a competitive trials bikers as a young man, has vowed to fight the decision.
He said: “I am sticking to my guns. I started riding on this land when I was 13 and that was more than 40 years ago. I am not doing it for money. I have been in motorbiking for that long I do it to keep the sport going.
“People just come to practise for a few hours as and when they want. People aren’t racing around from dawn until dusk ripping up the countryside.”
The enforcement notice is being issued following complaints from neighbours. Mr Boothman said motocross, which is faster and louder than trials riding, no longer takes place on the farm.
He is currently gathering evidence to show the site has been used for motorcycle trials for the last ten years before applying for retrospective planning permission. He has already received more than 20 testimonials, including a statement from Dougie Lampkin.
Dougie’s father, Martin, who is a former British, European and World champion trials rider, said: “If it wasn’t for the goodwill of farmers like Ian there would be nowhere for people to practice.
“It is not as if we are bad people because we ride motorbikes. It is a minority sport but it is also great for families.”
Silsden mayor Chris Atkinson and Bradford Councillor Adrian Naylor (Cons, Craven) said they hadn’t had any complaints about the motorcycles at Rough Holden.
Coun Atkinson said: “I think Bradford Council is out of order in what they are doing. It is not hurting anyone. They are happy to build houses on greenbelt but they won’t allow something that brings a lot of enjoyment to people.”
Bradford and District Motor Club life member Ron Eddings said: “If people aren’t allowed to use it any more then they will find somewhere else less appropriate to start riding.”
Bradford Council planning enforcement manager Ian Horsfall said the authority was in the process of issuing an enforcement notice following complaints. He said the Council was not trying to stop such activity taking place but was requiring the landowner to comply with the 14-day condition placed on him under the Town and Country Planning Act.
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