Wakefield Park moves to defend neighbours from criticism

Wakefield Park

Wakefield Park has moved to defend its neighbours from criticism following an outpouring of anger from race fans over a court decision which threatens the circuit’s future.

The Benalla Auto Club-owned venue is effectively restricted to no more than 30 days’ worth of race meetings per year under a development consent of July 13 which came about following proceedings in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court (LEC).

Noise was the key sticking point in BAC’s appeal against Goulburn Mulwaree Council, with the upgrades to pit buildings and the like ultimately approved.

However, the noise limits are even more onerous than those council had sought to impose, which Wakefield Park had already asserted would render its operations unviable.

That has seen neighbours come in for condemnation from race fans in online forums, but the circuit claims they have been “misrepresented”, in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

“…a number of our neighbours have been criticised about all this,” noted that statement.

“Our closest neighbours are also some of our biggest supporters, who seem to have been misrepresented somewhat in the judgment.

“It is unproductive to place blame on any of the neighbours, let alone those that support us.”

The court took six resident submissions, three on site and three at their respective properties, which outlined their concerns about the circuit.

One submitted that residents had to modify homes at a cost of $100,000 in an attempt to reduce the noise, “with limited success”.

According to another, said to be living in a childhood home for a 31-year period which pre-dates the circuit’s original 1993 development consent, drifting is a particular gripe due to the screech of tyres.

Residents at a family property settled in 1827 reasoned that it is “a daily mental task to ignore the noise that interferes with everyday tasks such as working from home, using the verandah or watching television.”

Council considered Wakefield Park’s recent to be outside the scope of the terms of the 1993 development consent, which was still applicable until a series of ‘prevention notices’ were issued from early-2019 as those two parties sought to resolve noise issues.

Nevertheless, a statement from council issued following the LEC decision expresses a desire “to see a profitable successful Wakefield Park, with the many positive economic benefits which flow from this,” so long as activities are “conducted within the agreed noise levels.”

It is set to meet with representatives of the circuit next week.

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