5:30am Tuesday 14th January 2014
By Chloe Chapman
MORE than 1,150 people have signed a petition calling for a privately-run outdoor activity park to be allowed to stay open.
Basildon Council wants to close Action Park, at Bonville Farm, off the A127 at Wickford, because it has been run without planning permission for the past seven years.
The council has issued enforcement notices ordering its closure and the company has appealed against them to Whitehall.
Action Park, which offers motorsports, shooting and an assault course, has encouraged customers to back its appeal by signing the petition.
The companyorganises events for stag and hen parties, charity fundraising events and works with the police to stop motorcyclists using public land .
It also runs an alternative education programme for youngsters who have been excluded from school.
However, the council has received several complaints from neighbours about noisy motocross bikes, rally cars and quad bikes.
There are also concerns about damage to the green belt land.
Park manager Marie Martin said: "We try our best for the community, but we feel as if the council has it in for us.
"We have become a bit busier, so neighbours probably hear a bit more now than when we first opened, but we are willing to do what we can to help these people.
We are going to be spending a lot of money.
“I would like to think the council won’t shut us down. It would be letting down a lot of children.
We have had a lot of support.”
A Government planning inspector will rule on the closure after hearing evidence ataapublic inquiry in July.
RichardMoore, Basildon councillor responsible for planning, said: “Action Park has been operating unlawfully, despite the council’s repeated requests to submit a planning application.
“There have been numerous complaints from residents about excessive noise from unsilenced motocross bikes. The council is also concerned about the impact of the activity on the green belt and the possible highway dangers resulting from the increased use of an unsuitable access on to the A127.
"It was therefore in the public interest to serve enforcement notices to stop the operator from trading.”
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