Goulburn council set for talks with Wakefield Park over circuit’s future

Wakefield Park Raceway

Goulburn’s council will meet with Wakefield Park representatives next week in a bid to save the circuit, following a court ruling which puts its future in grave danger.

The venue has been hit with new noise limits which effectively restrict it to 30 days’ worth of race meetings per year, as a result of a decision handed down in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court (LEC) earlier this week.

While the redevelopment of facilities has been approved, the operating conditions which Wakefield Park must adhere to going forward are even more onerous than those which Goulburn Mulwaree Council had originally sought to impose.

It has left Benalla Auto Club, which owns the track, to describe its situation as a perilous one in a statement issued following the LEC decision.

Now, council has released a statement of its own, declaring that it “wants to see a profitable successful Wakefield Park, with the many positive economic benefits which flow from this”.

Notwithstanding wrangling over noise which dates back multiple years, it is set for talks with circuit management next week in a bid to reach that objective.

“Goulburn Mulwaree Council acknowledges the findings of the Land and Environment Court upholding Wakefield Park’s appeal earlier this week,” began the statement.

“For more than a decade, Goulburn Mulwaree Council has sought to work with Wakefield Park and nearby residents to find a balanced and fair outcome for all concerned parties.

“Throughout this period, it has been Council’s preference to resolve this matter through mediation, without seeking legal action.

“While it is regrettable Wakefield Park’s operators elected to proceed with an appeal in the Land and Environment Court prior to receiving Council’s determination in the matter last year, it was entirely their right to do so.

“It should be noted that the Commissioner’s determination has imposed significantly stricter consent conditions than those imposed by Council in July 2021.

“Despite comments to the contrary, Council wishes to reinforce that these new and stricter conditions were ultimately imposed by the Court, and not Council, with the Commissioner finding that Council’s determination in July 2021 was in fact generous in comparison with the State’s specific noise assessment criteria.

“It has never been Council’s desire to see Wakefield Park cease operations; only for the venue to operate within the approved consent conditions.

“Quite simply: Council wants to see a profitable successful Wakefield Park, with the many positive economic benefits which flow from this. However, these must be conducted within the agreed noise levels.

“Goulburn Mulwaree Council will meet with Wakefield Park representatives early next week to work through the next steps.”

Wakefield Park has, for now, self-imposed tight operating conditions so as to not trigger the new development consent just yet, while it “explor[es] all options”.

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