Torbay Council 'not consulted' over go-kart plan for beach car park
- Credit: Submitted
Torbay Council says it was not consulted in advance about plans for a go-kart track on its car park at Broadsands beach in Paignton which have triggered hundreds of objections.
The council said it had been unaware of a change of use planning application being prepared for the land.
And the council’s leader Steve Darling has told residents his personal view is that it should be turned down.
A statement from the council said that anyone could submit an application without the landowner’s permission. But the council would need to give consent for the track to go ahead on its land.
The change of use request has received more than 400 objections.
The applicant says the site is the 'perfect location' for a track and he wants to use up to 12 petrol-power karts between 10am and 8pm seven days a week, between Easter and September.
Many objectors complain about the risk of noise disturbing the residents in the peaceful valley behind the beach in a sheltered bay between Paignton and Brixham.
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They also raise concerns about pollution from exhaust fumes and the impact on the environment and wildlife.
The application is for a surfaced area alongside the main car park on council land. It includes proposals for two storage containers for equipment and an entry kiosk.
Council leader Steve Darling has told residents who asked about the scheme: “I personally have serious concerns and feel that this speculative planning application is highly inappropriate and should be rejected out of hand.”
The council’s statement said: “When someone is looking to use Torbay Council land for a project, business or activity, we welcome an open conversation with us as landowner.
“As expected, some council land has certain restrictions on it and we would also go through a process to ensure that what was proposed was right for the area.
“This includes considering the impact the proposal has on the local area, its residents and wider community.
“In the case of the planning application that has been submitted for the setting up of a go-kart business using some of the car park space at Broadsands, we as landowner have only just been made aware of this.
“It is important to note that anyone can put in a planning application without asking for our permission.
“All applications will be considered and determined on their planning merit, for example things like the impact of noise, disturbance, extra traffic it brings to the area will be considered and presented when the planning application is heard at the planning committee and as landowner, we would also put forward our thoughts on the application.
“As with all planning applications, our residents will have the opportunity to comment too. For the proposal to go ahead the consent of the council as landowner would be required.”
Details of the planning application were published on the council’s planning website on April 7.
The applicant Darren Sunderland, of Dartington, submitted a plan of what the track could look like, constructed of tyres reinforced and bonded together.
Mr Sunderland proposed two shipping containers to store equipment, a small ticket office and a ‘silent generator’ for power.
Explaining his plans in a letter, he said everything would be temporary and easily removed from the site if necessary.
Mr Sunderland said he had been the manager of a go-kart track at Churston, and ran a seasonal track at Penzance for many years.
He said the Broadsands site was surrounded by trees which would act as a sound barrier and keep noise to a minimum.
He suggested the addition of flagpoles and bunting to make the track look appealing.
Mr Sunderland wrote: “I feel Torbay needs a go-kart track for locals and holiday makers to enjoy and the Broadsands site is the perfect location, I am sure with my hard work and determination we can turn this into a fantastic facility.”
By 1pm on April 22, 468 objections had been submitted on the council’s planning website, with five comments in support.
Objector Caroline Snow, of Stoke St Gabriel, wrote in her objection that the noise would “resonate across the Broadsands valley spoiling enjoyment of the area by visitors, holiday makers, residents and affecting wildlife.”
Audrey Moulton, of Paignton, said the noise and fumes would be 'horrendous' for residents and visitors. She wrote: “This is a quiet family beach, please keep it so.”
Objectors said the sites of previous tracks at Goodrington and Churston were alternatives which could be reinstated.
A decision will be made by council officers or the council’s planning committee after public consultation ends on Wednesday, May 12.