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Cwmbran private motocross track could be approved by Torfaen Council

A view of the motocross track that has been created next to a home near Cwmbran (Pic: Torfaen County Borough Council planning file)

A MOTOCROSS track built in a field next to the home of a professional racer for his son to train on should be allowed to remain in use. 

That’s the verdict of planners who are advising councillors to approve a temporary planning permission for the track that has been in place in a former agricultural field next to Primrose Cottage in Pentre Lane, Henllys, Cwmbran, for three years. 

Last year officers from Torfaen Borough Council launched an enforcement investigation after becoming aware of the complete circuit, including ramps and jumps of various sizes, that was built without planning permission, and has led to the application for it to be retained. 

Some neighbours have complained about noise which, they say, is related to the track, and have lodged 11 objections with the planning department and as a result councillors in the Two Locks ward have asked the planning committee make a decision on the application. 

Applicant James Chorlton, who is a professional racer, has denied the track, built for his son Connor, to train at home during the Covid lockdown in 2020, has created noise neighbours have complained about and said it will only be used by his son. 

In a statement sent to the council Mr Chorlton said he is aiming to support in son’s ambition in motorsport and said: “We race professionally all over the country, my son Connor is a future British and European champion also a potential medalist for the games which is such a big achievement.” 

The planning committee will meet at the Civic Centre in Pontypool on Thursday, August 10, at 10am to consider the application and a report states approval should be given on a temporary basis, through to August 10, 2025, to assess the impact on residential and visual amenity. 

An environmental health officer recorded the motorbike being ridden by Connor, in May, as he circuited the track and the noise generated at a neighbour’s home, Pen Y Vale Barn, which is some 130 metres from the track was an average of 52 decibels, continuous sound level.  

The average standard for the daytime in quieter gardens is 50 decibels and the report states: “limited periods generated from the motocross bike is not considered to exceed this typical day long amenity standard.” 

In his statement Mr Chorlton said the track isn’t normally used more than twice a week and that in 2022 it was only used for a total of 71 minutes as “we are away all the time racing so it’s very, very rarely used anyway”. 

He also said he wanted to address concerns that other riders would be using the circuit, including a rumour that he would be letting it our for “hundreds of bikes to use” which he said he would “never allow” and the track is “strictly private”. 

Mr Chorlton also said he and his son have also been blamed for noise generated by off road bikes being taken to a mountain from Pentre Lane and that some of these complaints have been made when he and his son have been away competing. 

The field is outside of the development boundary and within the ‘green wedge’ separating Cwmbran from Newport and forms part of the South Lowlands Special Landscape Area but the report states the track “maintains the open character of the green wedge” and notes the only development has been moving land with no new buildings constructed. 

The committee has been recommended to approve the application, which has also had eight letters of support, with conditions that it only be used by the owners of Primrose Cottage, it only be used by one bike at a time and the noise levels do not exceed those recorded by the environmental heath officer. 

Use will also be restricted to 9am to 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays and limited to motocross with no permission for any other activities or motorsports.