The following is a press release by the team at Moto Trial NI in relation to were we have got to with the Ards Borough Council and trial practice at the Leamdines. Below this wording is the paper work that went through council for ratification last Wednesday.
MOTO TRIAL NI PRESS RELEASE
As most people will be aware Ards Borough Council (ABC) have closed off the Leadmines to all motorcycle use except for organised trials by registered clubs.
This was rightly deemed a travesty given that there has been established use at the site from the mid 1930s.
To try to address this issue a few of us who have grown up using the Leadmines got together to form an action group with the aim of overturning the council decision and gaining use of the Leadmines.
From the initial meetings “Moto Trial NI” was born to take on the necessary work to try to change the councils views on the use of the Leadmines.
There were lots of rumours about why the council were taking this stance but any of you who have been around the trials scene for a while will know that this has been a problem that has raised its head numerous times over the last 30 years and eventually a “status quo” emerged where more or less the council turned a blind eye to the use of the area. The council are now in the position that this is no longer sustainable.
We took on the task of speaking to the council and fighting the corner of trials and to the credit of the council, from these initial meetings, it became apparent that once the council were aware of the history of the use of the Leadmines for trials and how we used the area and the minimal impact caused by trials bikes in relation to damage to the area, noise nuisance and how we engaged with other users, their attitude became more of wanting to work with us to ensure that trials could get back on the Leadmines, but in a more structured set up, with a view to the long term use by trials.
This led to various meetings where lots of the issues at the core of the matter were discussed and we are now at the statge where the council are working to bring about a formal change of use so that trials will be back on the Leadmines.
On Monday 2nd December members from the Moto Trial NI committee met with the Director of Environmental Services at ABC (Mr R Brittain)to discuss where matters had moved to.
At this meeting Mr Brittain informed us that he took an outline of our views, those of his department and that of the Leisure services Department to a formal council meeting and that there was no formal dissension by any of the council members to these proposals. From the council meeting there has been a recommendation that an application is made to the Planning Department to have formal planning approval to change the use of the Leadmines to encompass a Trials Park, this will be for use as a formal trials practice area as well as continued use for competitions.
Obviously there will be conditions of use and probable cost implications to this, we have been acutely aware of this from the outset, and we have been working towards establishing how this can be addressed and carried forward. We see this as the council seeking a formal club structure with members being signed up to a set of protocols and club rules in relation to conduct while using the Leadmines, insurance coverage etc.
While this is a great step forward it will take time for the planning to be approved, and get the bikes back onto the Leadmines.
We would ask that you bear with us, it is a slow process but this needs explored properly and brought to a long term satisfactory conclusion rather than a headstrong push to get back onto the Leadmines in the short term.
It should also be remembered that the council in conjunction with the statutory bodies can take action whereby persons continuing to flout the council can have their bikes confiscated and ultimately prosecuted, something I am sure none of us wish to happen.
We would also ask that if anyone has any ideas that may help that you make contact with us to bring the ideas forward and any help will be greatly appreciated.