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Inspector sides with father in Magdalen use of land for scrambling row

By David Hannant, Local Democracy Reporter

A father has won a battle with his local council to allow his son to ride motorcycles on his land.

West Norfolk Council took enforcement action against Marcus Mallett, of Magdalen, around the use of motorcycles on land off Stow Road

The borough argued that this was a breach of regulations as it was considered a change of use of the land requiring planning permission.

An enforcement notice was issued calling for an end to any motorcycle riding on the land and demolition of ‘jumps’ which had been installed, which Mr Mallett maintained were simply “just earth and dirt”.

Stow Road in Magdalen. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH
Stow Road in Magdalen. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

However, the council’s enforcement has now been overturned by the Planning Inspectorate, after Mr Mallett appealed against it.

The decision puts an end to a dispute which began in September 2017, after the borough council began investigating complaints about the use of the land off Stow Road.

The view of the council was that Mr Mallett’s son was using the land to train for competitive motorcycling and thus required planning permission.

However, on visiting the site, planning inspector Debbie Moore said she could find “very little evidence of regular use by motorcycles”.

She said: “I saw no tyre tracks or any evidence of earth erosion which is likely to be the result of motorbikes following a set route around the field.

“I saw that earth had been piled into mounds, which were restricted to one part of the land, but these were randomly located. They were not laid out around a discernible track, nor were there any obvious jumps.

“It is clear from the evidence that the appellant’s son competes to a relatively high standard and uses the land for motorcycling on an occasional basis.

“However, I disagree that use of the land amounts to motorcycle racing including practising and training.”

In his submission to the appeal, Mr Mallett wrote: “No racing takes place, nor does practice or training for any such events.

“Any riding of motorcycles undertaken on the land is purely for recreational or leisure purposes.”

West Norfolk Council and Mr Mallett did not wish to comment further on the dispute.

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