The future of the long-running and much-loved Butts Quarry, near Ashover in Derbyshire, is in jeopardy after being floored by a noise abatement notice just two days before Christmas.
Despite its almost secret setting, the venue is coming under fire from locals who would prefer that off-road motorcycling happens somewhere other than their own backyard – even if they did move to the area long after the land was established as a motorsports venue.
It was “a deliberate attempt to make our appeal more difficult due to time constraints,” Barry Dring said in a statement.
In an attempt to hold off closure a petition has been created to show the activity at Butts Quarry is not considered a nuisance by the vast majority of residents and is welcomed as part of the heritage and tradition of the area.
“The council have been forced by one individual into a judicial review despite the issue already being resolved and measures put in place,” Dring’s statement added.
“I just want to take this time to say that over the last three years we have done as much as we can to make the noise less of a nuisance than ever before. I had a letter just before lockdown that our case had been closed thanks to our efforts with the environmental office to come to an understanding as to limits and control of our lawful business.
“We have an agreement with the Environmental Agency to only operate once every 14 days between the hours of 9am and 5pm, along with noise testing where required. Obviously, this massively restricts its viability as a business, it does, however, allow us to maintain this beautiful area of land and enable many adults and children alike to pursue their passion in a safe and controlled environment.
“We never wavered from this agreement and yet with the knowledge that the local council are under threat from one local our case has miraculously been reopened and we have now been issued with an abatement notice, one that we are going to fight with confidence.”
The Dring family have told TMX there have been years of enmity from a small number of villagers and these “wealthy people” have “other ideas” for the track.
“We had our machines that work the track sabotaged within the first year which caused over £42,000 worth of damage. We have no intention to sell our track as my husband Barry Dring and son are passionate about the sport and we hope to pass this down to the next generation,” Jenny Dring told TMX.
Nestling in the Derbyshire dales between Chesterfield and Matlock, The Butts has hosted every conceivable type of off-road motorcycle event during the last 50 years or so. A stone’s throw from the village of Ashover, you’d struggle to find it if you didn’t know it was there as it’s tucked away in an old-quarry location deep in a valley.
Without support from the off-road community, especially local riders, any future could be put in serious doubt.
And support appears to have started, with plenty of positive words being shared on social media from residents of the area.
This isn’t just a fight to keep a business open, it’s about stopping the erosion of off-road motorsport in England. The more councils like North East Derbyshire District Council are put under pressure to close these great and much-needed facilities, the more riders are forced to become a nuisance by riding illegally. Which further erodes the image of off-road motorsport.
It’s a frustrating and heartbreaking self-fulfilling prophecy.
Head here to sign the petition: http://bit.ly/ButtsQuarry