Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Champ might give up if park closes
A CHAMPION motocross rider could be forced to give up the sport if a controversial activity park closes.
If the site shuts for good, the nearest suitable track would be in Norfolk.
Stuntman dad Leonard Woodcock, 42, already spends £40,000 a year on his son’s motocross hobby, and would struggle to fund the extra travel.
He said: “My son is British champion, but to get to that, we have spent a lot of money.
“There has got to be a point when you say enough is enough.
“There’s a track in Kent, but its not the right standard.
“There are six motocross shops in this area, and they all survive because of Action Park.
“If they take it away, the local community is going to suffer, because riders will go to parks illegally instead.
“When it isn’t done in a controlled environment, motocross can go wrong and end really badly.”
Action Park bosses went head to head with Basildon Council during a planning inquiry last week.
Enforcement action was launched against site, which had been operating without planning permission for seven years, after neighbours complained about noisy motocross bikes, rally cars and quad bikes.
The council also has concerns about damage to the green belt land, and highways dangers from traffic using the access road to the park.
Planning agent Kieron Lilley, from Smart Planning, who represented Action Park during the inquiry, said: “If we were to close the site and people had to travel to an alternative motocross track, I don’t think that would be very environmentally sustainable.
“There haven’t been any other sites put forward, because no one can suggest a better place locally.”
The planning inspectorate will make a decision within the next few months.