Around 100 motocross bikers, quad riders, 4x4 drivers and spectators gathered at a protest at the Flappit off-road site near Cullingworth today over the proposed closure of access to the site.

The enthusiasts braved freezing conditions to state their opposition to the announcement that the Flappit lay-by, which gives access to the site, is to be made out of bounds by Bradford Council.

The Council has announced its intention to close the lay-by next to the former quarry, citing health and safety grounds.

However protesters argued that the site, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, has a good safety record and that it is the only local site available for young people to enjoy their hobby.

The lay-by closure will also impact on a mobile café based there and passing truck drivers who often pull into the lay-by for their mandatory rest stops.

Mirielle Duncan, the café owner, from Cullingworth, said: “I have been here seven days a week for nine months and there have never been any problems.

“They’ve put double yellow lines on the other side of the road so you can’t even pull in there. Council are saying they will find somewhere else, well okay, but why close this lay-by first.”

Steven Fletcher, 28, who organised the protest, and is himself a keen 4x4 off-roader, said: “I’ve been coming here since I was five years old. There’s a real community here, we all help each other. They are saying they are closing it for health and safety reasons but if you had the place full of horse riders there would be people getting injured all over the place. Most of the people here are very safety conscious, you get the odd one but that’s the same anywhere. The only other place a lot of these lads can go is in Doncaster and you have to pay £25.”

Kenny Knowles has been coming to Flappit for 30 years.

“I used to cycle here from Bradford as a young lad,” he said. “Now my lad’s 12 and he’s been coming here eight years. Where else are young people supposed to go?

“They are talking about health and safety but we all look after each other here. Accidents do happen occasionally, as in any sport, but surely it’s better to have everyone here where they can get help instead of being off in the woods on their own. I can’t see a problem with the place I hope they don’t close it.”