Bid to allow quad biking and Segway rides at estate near Ottery

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 January 2018

Archant

A retrospective bid to allow quad biking and Segway rides to Escot Park has been recommended for approval – despite concerns about ‘destruction’ of woodland and loss of access for residents.

John-Michael Kennaway, whose family has owned the estate for more than 200 years, has submitted plans to formalise use of the existing tracks for controlled use of the activities.

Opponents said residents had been denied use of Talaton Common Copse and the new uses would cause ‘environmental damage’ and inflict noise pollution on neighbouring areas.

The plans say: “The application seeks to formalise use of the land for quad biking and Segway pursuits, which have taken place as part of a leisure and recreation business in recent years.

“It is intended that such formalisation will help to ensure the ongoing success of the diverse rural business offering provided by the Escot Estate.”

The use of Segways started in February 2012 and quad biking two years later. The business currently employs five full-time workers.

There have been 11 objections to the application and one letter of support.

James Jackson objected to the use of Talaton Common Copse as part of the quad bike track, arguing permissive use of the woods by local people was being denied.

James Davies, another objector, said the copse had been used as a permissive path for ‘tens if not hundreds’ of years. He added: “We can understand that Escot Estate needs to make a profit, but we feel that the use of the grounds with the noisy, polluting and destructive quads is a step too far.”

Others voiced concerns about the ‘destruction’ of wild bluebells and native tree roots in Talaton Common Copse, and the impact on breeding guinea fowl at the nearby Riverwood Farm.

The fate of the plans will be decided by East Devon District Council when its development management committee meets on January 9.

An officer report recommending approval says: “The proposal is in general conformity with the Local Plan, which supports economic development in rural areas.

“While concerns about noise impacts have been noted, Environmental Health are no longer objecting to the application as the proposal has been amended to address their noise concerns.

“Subject to a number of conditions, the relationship with Riverwood Farm and other properties in the vicinity of the route is considered to be acceptable and as such the application is recommended for approval.”

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