Sports car plan at former RAF Coltishall scrapped

Shawn Taylor pictured promoting a charity vehicle event he organised at former RAF Coltishall last y

Shawn Taylor pictured promoting a charity vehicle event he organised at former RAF Coltishall last year. Picture: SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A handbrake U-turn means plans which would have allowed sports cars to keep using a circuit at former RAF Coltishall are set to be scrapped.

Instead, Norfolk County Council is seeking planning permission for drivers to be trained on the site, now Scottow Enterprise Park, in cars travelling at a maximum 10mph.

The council, which bought the base in 2013, says it has changed its mind because it wants to be a good neighbour to residents, a number of whom had expressed strong opposition to its original plans.

A wide-ranging application submitted by the council had included proposals to continue the use of the former runway/taxiway/perimeter track and hard surfacing for 'driver training and testing, and cycling uses.'

Norwich-based Shawn Taylor Racing had been using the perimeter track for many years and the council said it wanted to 'regularise' a situation it had inherited.

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Roy Bailey, of Frogge Lane, Coltishall, said his fence was less than 10m away and that high-performance cars had been racing on the site for 18-24 months, not many years.

He complained of 'extreme acceleration resulting in high speeds with high-speed cornering, sometimes causing road skidding and high-pitch screeching,' lasting for four to six hours.

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Other residents on Frogge Lane and Old Norwich Road also objected to the application because of the noise and its affect on their lives.

The council is now suggesting removing from its application references to using parts of the site for driver development and training, vehicle training and testing, and use by a model aircraft club.

Permission for slow speed car-handling training would be sought instead, restricted to Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Proposals for a cycle track would not be affected.

A council spokesman said there was a potential for conflict in allowing the continued use of the site for motor sports activities alongside the proposed Pedal Park cycling plan.

He added: 'We want to be a good neighbour as far as we can and do not see motor sport testing as featuring predominantly in our plans for the future.'

Mr Bailey said that as long as the council's proposals were incorporated into a revised planning application, he would be very pleased.

He added: 'I congratulate Scottow Enterprise Park for being very conciliatory and accommodating and seeing that the community's needs should be taken into account.'

But Shawn Taylor said he has 'very annoyed' that the council had not yet informed him of its new proposals.

'We have invested heavily in our plans going forward,' he added.

His firm had been using the site for four years without any complaints. Most of the cars used had not been high-performance. He had also organised charity events there, benefiting many.

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