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Father defeats council over battle to let son ride on his land

Father wins legal battle against his local council after it tried to stop his son riding on his own private land

A FATHER has won a legal battle against his local council after it tried to prevent his son from riding motorcycles on his own private land.

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council went to the effort of taking against Marcus Mallett to court because it felt the change of use of the land – located in Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen - required planning permission if his son was using it to train for competitive riding. 

Mr Mallett has used the patch of land to install jumps and tracks for his son to enjoy riding, with the enforcement notice calling for all riding to be ceased and the track demolished, even though the plaintiff insisted they were simply ‘just earth and dirt’.

In his submission to the appeal, Mr Mallett wrote: "No racing takes place, nor does practice or training for any such events. Any riding of motorcycles undertaken on the land is purely for recreational or leisure purposes."

However, in a result we can file firmly under ‘sense prevailing’, the council’s enforcement was thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate after Mr Mallett’s appeal.

A long-running – no doubt expensive – crusade by the council that began back in September 2017, planning inspector Debbie Moore sided with Mr Mallett.

However, on visiting the site, planning inspector Debbie Moore said she could find "very little evidence of regular use by motorcycles".

She said: "I saw no tyre tracks or any evidence of earth erosion which is likely to be the result of motorbikes following a set route around the field.

"I saw that earth had been piled into mounds, which were restricted to one part of the land, but these were randomly located. They were not laid out around a discernible track, nor were there any obvious jumps.

"It is clear from the evidence that the appellant's son competes to a relatively high standard and uses the land for motorcycling on an occasional basis. However, I disagree that use of the land amounts to motorcycle racing including practising and training."

So whilst it looks like the son won’t be set for any competitive riding any time soon, this seems to be a win for common sense…

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