Wakefield Park ‘exploring all options’ after court ruling
Thursday 14th July, 2022 - 10:47pm
Wakefield Park owner Benalla Auto Club is “exploring all options” to keep the circuit running following a damaging court ruling.
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court upheld BAC’s appeal against a development consent issued by Goulburn Mulwaree Council, but placed onerous operating conditions on the circuit.
While the upgrades to facilities may proceed, Wakefield Park is now severely restricted with respect to how many days it can hold motor racing and other track activities during the year, threatening its viability.
For the time being, it is even taking the step of holding no more than four events per month, so as to not trigger the development consent which took effect yesterday (July 13).
However, BAC has advised that it will work with government in a bid to keep the facility running.
A statement from BAC, entitled “Wakefield Park in Peril” reads, in full:
“The viability of Wakefield Park as a motorsport facility is uncertain following a NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC) ruling handed down yesterday, 13 July 2022.
“Wakefield Park’s owners, the Benalla Auto Club (BAC), undertook LEC proceedings in relation to a new development consent for the facility that was issued by Goulburn Mulwaree Council on 13 July 2021. That consent was subject to numerous unworkable conditions.
“During the proceedings, Council proposed further and more stringent conditions.
“While Wakefield Park’s appeal was upheld by the LEC, the LEC largely adopted Council’s proposed conditions.
“These severely restrict the number of days per year that the circuit can operate at various noise thresholds. Their effect will make it impossible to operate as a sustainable business.
“From yesterday, use of Wakefield Park for more than 4 events per month would constitute commencement of the new consent and require surrender of the facility’s existing consent.
“Wakefield Park will therefore reduce its operations to no more than 4 events per month until an alternative pathway is determined.
“The LEC decision is a shattering blow to the BAC, which submitted the DA with an intention of upgrading and improving Wakefield Park’s facilities.
“Wakefield Park’s existence as one of only two permanent motorsport facilities in NSW is now in jeopardy.
“Nevertheless, the BAC recognises the importance of Wakefield Park not only to the local economy, but to the wider motorsport and automotive industries.
“It remains committed to exploring all options with every level of government to preserve the facility.”
In effect, Australia’s most populous state is now down to barely more than one permanent race track, the other being Sydney Motorsport Park, in that city’s west.
Wakefield Park has already cancelled a ride day, which was to be held this Sunday (July 17), a decision which was announced after the court decision was handed down.