By David Stubbings (with a G) December 05, 2012 and repressed with thanks from Get Gurrey
A NOISE abatement notice served against the operators of the Longcross Test Track has been quashed.
Representatives of Crest Nicholson Operations Limited, which manages the track, and 6th Gear, a company that runs driving experience days at the site, were delighted as the notice originally served by Runnymede Borough Council in March was overturned.
It would have limited the number of track days held at the former DERA circuit in Chobham Lane.
Judge Terence English announced his decision at Staines Magistrates’ Court on Friday (November 30).
“The onus is on the complainant to show service of the notice was not justified,” he said.
“Having read all the evidence, [Crest Nicholson Operations and 6th Gear] have discharged that burden and these appeals are allowed. The notices are quashed.”
An application by the council during the appeal hearings to transfer the notice to the relevant company was rejected with it being lifted.
During the appeal, the court heard how environmental health officers compared noise levels from the track during 6th Gear events to days when it was not operating in order to offer a baseline in the area.
Judge English defined this comparison as “misapplied”, as well as describing a survey sent out to 137 neighbouring residents as “not totally neutral”.
“I accept some of the criticism aimed at the survey,” he said. “It was not totally neutral but the council was absolutely right to canvass views of the residents.”
Out of 137 surveys sent out by Runnymede asking about noise from the track, 57 replies were received, with 44 of those registering complaints.
As part of the appeal, residents’ accounts were read out including one that stated: “We have to keep windows and doors closed, even in the hot summer months.”
To support its case, the council showed footage posted online on YouTube from 6th Gear events, in which a speedometer showed speeds the cars were being driven at, although it was unclear whether these were in miles or kilometres per hour.
An application for costs from Reuben Taylor on behalf of Crest Nicholson Operations Limited and 6th Gear Experience was refused.