Retrospective off-road motorbike course rejected by Rotherham Council

ENFORCEMENT action has been authorised by Rotherham Council after it rejected retrospective plans for a trials bike course.

The land at Hooton Lodge in Hooton Roberts has been used as an obstacle course for off-road motorcycles since June 2019.

A planning application, which was submitted to RMBC the following summer, asked for a change of use to outdoor recreation.

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It included bringing in materials to form bumps and obstacles on the greenbelt land.

Planning papers said applicant Mr G Schofield had set up the trial bikes facility for personal use, but later opened it for local riders to use.

The applicant likened the facility to the one in BBC gameshow Kick Start, which had riders negotiating obstacles like logs, oil drums, rockeries and water troughs against the clock.

“The site is well screened by the existing woodland to the east and south,” the planning documents added. “To the north and west is the River Don, with woodland and agricultural land beyond the river.

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“During the course of a day, up to 50 riders could use the facility, albeit at any one time there will be no more than 12 riders on the obstacles.

“The trials bike area is a material change in the use of land for outdoor sport and recreation, which preserves the openness of the greenbelt and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within the greenbelt, and hence is considered the proposal is not inappropriate in the greenbelt.”

But the council has rejected the proposals, saying the development is considered to have an “erosive effect” on the landscape.

RMBC also said: “There is a lack of information in respect of potential noise impacts of the development generated from motorised bikes and riders on the general amenity of the surrounding area, which is characterised by its rural location, and on wildlife within the ancient woodland (Bluebell Wood) and local wildlife site (Thrybergh tip).”

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Enforcement action has now been authorised by RMBC, requiring the use as a trials bike course to stop within one month.

It also orders the removal of the jumps and other obstacles from the site within three months.