Tockwith planning inquiry closes

A PLANNING inquiry in which a Tockwith businessman is appealing against six enforcement notices from Harrogate Borough Council has ended.

The four-day inquiry heard evidence from Harrogate Borough Council and Simon Moore - owner of Marston Moor airfield in Tockwith, who runs a driver training and vehicle testing at the site.

They related to the removal of scrap motor vehicles and tyres stored without planning permission, the banning of racing and testing of motor vehicles, and the removal of go-karting tracks.

Over the four-day hearing a number of residents attended the appeal in support of the enforcement notices.

Objections to the site have been raised over the years by residents who have complained about the noise and untidiness of the former Second World War airfield.

Part of the basis of the planning notices was to establish whether Mr Moore had continuously used a number of driver facilities and storage, including the use of a Ginetta go-karting track, for 10 years, the inquiry was told.

In closing arguments, lawyer Ruth Stokely, representing Harrogate Borough Council, said: “The six enforcement notices subject to this appeal result directly from complaints made to the council in 2009 over activities being undertaken on land at the former Tockwith airfield site.

“Such complaints related specifically to the increase in noise generated from the site due to the use of the Ginetta track and the Pro-AM rack.”

“Investigations identified other concerns over the site’s activities leading to the service of a planning notice in April 2010.”

Barrister David Hardy, representing Simon Moore, said: “It was obvious from the incredibly detailed evidence regarding operation of the site that since he was about seven years of age, Mr Moore has lived and breathed driver training activities at Marston Moor airfield all his known life.”

He said the amended notices, changed during the course of the inquiry by Harrogate Borough Council, were too “vague” and “imprecise”

He said Mr Moore had “clearly demonstrated driver racing and testing of motor vehicles over a 10-year period” throughout the evidence heard at the inquiry.

Planning inspector John Braithwaite closed the four-day hearing on Friday.

He is due to make his ruling on Marston Moor airfield within a few weeks.

Harrogate Borough Council expect a decision in around six weeks.