Top Gear test track experience days allowed to continue for another 2 years as residents ‘given up complaining’

Heather

Driving experience days at the Top Gear test track near Cranleigh are allowed to continue for another two years. Planning permission ran out at the end of last April but, following residents’ noise concerns, a decision on a third extension for was delayed last September for more information on noise monitoring.

Waverley Borough Council’s Eastern planning committee last night (March 16) agreed to extend Dunsfold Airport Ltd’s consent until the end of April 2024, despite one councillor saying residents had given up complaining because they felt ignored.

Councillor Steve Cosser (Con, Godalming Charterhouse) said: “Actually over the six years there have been quite a limited and low number of complaints about noise.”

Read more: Residents slam experience days on Top Gear test track after ‘noisy’ supercars rock nearby villages

Councillor Martin D’Arcy (Green, Bramley Busbridge and Hascombe), who sits on the Dunsfold liaison and advisory group, replied: “They do have a lot of complaints, but they’ve given up complaining because they say they get no response.”

The extension received 30 objections from the public and Dunsfold Parish Council. A noise management plan has now been introduced, which promises real-time monitoring with an alert sent to the organiser if noice limits are reached.

Planning officer Chris French said the system should be able to identify which vehicle is responsible for any tyre squeal, and the plan will be reviewed each October.

Cllr D’Arcy said the plan was too complicated to understand how to respond to complaints, while Alfold Parish Council said an email hotline was inadequate, as was 14 days notice before events.

Councillor Richard Seaborne (Con, Bramley Busbridge and Hascombe) said: “There’s no promise that email address is going to be monitored at all times.

“The whole point of having real-time monitoring is to get real-rime actions, to take the bad cars out of the game quickly. This monitoring plan has not got there yet. The detail’s not there, which means they can get away with not taking the action that the plan seeks to solve.”

Environmental health officer Gisella de Gennaro said immediate action was the intention as far as she understood it. Councillor Mary Foryszewski (Con, Cranleigh East) said: “I know it’s a very beautiful part of the world but it sits right within the surrounding area of Dunsfold Park, which is an active business with economic growth which we shouldn’t be stifling.” Councillor Maxine Gale (Ind, Milford) added: “It’s in the middle of an industrial park.”

As permission is temporary, the borough council is happy it will not interfere with its vision to transform Dunsfold Aerodrome into Dunsfold Park Garden Village, with 2,600 homes by 2032.

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