In a previous life I worked as an account manager for an IT company that specialised in online conveyancing. Sounds rather dull, doesn’t it? And you wouldn’t be too far away from the truth with your assumption.
Conveyancing, for those who don’t know, is the legal term used to describe the transfer of ownership of a property from one party to another. The process involves lots of administrative work as documents and reports need to be collated and prepared; the bulk of the conveyance being a handful of searches which are designed to protect prospective purchasers by providing information which may affect the property being purchased.
Local and environmental searches, for example, will tell a buyer whether there is a motorway lurking at the bottom of the garden or any outstanding notices requiring them to take action to remedy an earlier wrong doing. They will also disclose any activities in the local area that could affect the general environment like, say, a motor racing circuit.
Therefore, it never ceases to amaze me that some folk will purchase a property within the vicinity of a circuit and then complain about the noise it generates. Without wishing to sound like Jeremy Clarkson, these spectacular idiots should be taken outside and executed in front… well, maybe not.
As an example of their sheer idiocy, a consortium of NIMBYs (“not in my backyard”) forced Donington Park into making drastic changes to its events calendar last year due to noise restrictions. Which is somewhat bemusing when you consider that the circuit is but a stone’s throw away from the noise-producing M1, is situated within an industrial area and, let us not forget, has East Midlands Airport for a next-door neighbour – it’s a wonder that the drivers can hear their own engines over the planes taking off, let alone the local sourpusses lurking in their homes.
Travel sixty miles south along the aforementioned motorway and you will come across another race track that has recently faced opposition from a number of local residents. There were real concerns that this year’s Britcar 24 Hours event – one of the rare chances to see night racing in the UK – would be cancelled following complaints from the villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury.
Thankfully, an agreement was eventually reached with local parishioners and the twice-around-the-clock race will proceed as normal this year. Albeit with the 105dB noise limit being heavily policed by the race organisers.
Although, how this can be any more stringent than last year – when several participants were penalised and Britcar staff were regularly checking sound levels in nearby villages – remains somewhat of a mystery.
But, just when you thought the NIMBYs had exceeded their complaints quota for the last 12 months, word reaches me that Mallory Park now finds itself in a spot of bother as well.
Nestled within the sleepy hamlet of Kirby Mallory, this somewhat diminutive 1.35-mile race circuit has attracted complaints from a small number of residents – no more than a dozen – who have raised their noise-related complaints with the local authority.
Rumour has it that Mallory Park is facing possible reductions to their weekly Wednesday practice sessions – to once a month – unless they minimise any disturbances to the local community by enforcing the 105dB noise limit.
They have also been forced to alter the routes in and out of the venue – as was the case last weekend – and one has to wonder just how much longer this level of stupidity can go on for.
I would have plenty of sympathy for these objectors were it the case that these race tracks magically appeared in their gardens overnight. The likelihood is, however, that most circuits were operating long before the people complaining about them were even born.
For some of these folk to make out that they blissfully moved to a location where noise was already present, and then endeavour to make life miserable for track operators and spectators alike, is nigh on impossible to comprehend. Either they are incredibly dim, or, there are a few estate agents out there who are well versed with Jedi mind trickery.
Motorsport in this country is going through a tough enough time as it is at the moment, thanks to the current economic climate. For several years unreasonable restrictions against the circuits – applied through misdirection of statutory nuisance laws – has threatened to cripple legitimate businesses and it needs to stop.
In an ideal world, a presumption should be made to protect the continuation of any long standing activities – church bell ringing, local airfields, motor racing circuits, that kind of thing – and, as a result, any complaints should be duly rejected. It’s the equivalent of walking into a sauna and then complaining that it’s too hot and it made you all sweaty.
Interestingly though, a couple of NIMBYs took a rather hefty thumping in court recently when Mildenhall Stadium succeeded in its appeal against them. Last year the couple had won £20,000 in damages at the High Court over the noise the stadium generated – this being the same Mildenhall that is home to an RAF and USAF airbase – but the Appeal Court overturned that decision, and now they have to pay back £85,000.
Hopefully this sudden outbreak of common sense will set a precedent and deter idiotic complainers from contacting their money grabbing lawyers in an attempt to satisfy their own ends at the expense of everyone else. And with that, the numerous circuits across the land can be appreciated for the contribution they bring to the local communities – socially and economically.