World Rallycross track Lydden Hill at risk if upgrade plan rejected

Lydden Hill chiefs say Britain's World Rallycross Championship venue could be forced to close if proposed new plans to develop its facilities are rejected by Dover District Council

World Rallycross track Lydden Hill at risk if upgrade plan rejected

Circuit owner Pat Doran believes the Kent venue would almost certainly become unviable if income cannot be sought through a number of ventures included in upgrade plans released two weeks ago.

"This is more than just the development and upgrade of the venue, which is what people look at and go, 'that's great'. It's not about that," said Doran.

"Lydden has been sitting in limbo really since McLaren bought it, because of the planning restrictions surrounding what they wanted to do with it.

"It's been a hard struggle to try and get the place to pay its way."

Doran says that additional activities on top of motor racing are key to future Lydden's future.

The track is currently limited to 50 days of use per year.

"This development is about what we should be allowed to do, like driver training during the week, things like cycling and hot air ballooning," said Doran.

"We really want cycling at the circuit because it's a fantastic dome; it's almost in between the Tour of Britain and a stadium.

"We used to have about 100 bikes coming once a week, but we can't do that now because that would be one of our 'days'.

"This is crucial to the future of Lydden, and it could go either way.

"The guys that run it are struggling to make it work. We don't want to circuit to die.

"But is there a point of the circuit carrying on like it is? I don't think so.

"It would be easy to make it into another lorry park, but of course we don't want that."

Since the plans were announced, Lydden has received support from the motorsport fraternity and local residents, but Doran says it is important that people continue to submit positive feedback to Dover District Council.

"This is a good thing for the racing world, it's a good thing for the local community and it will bring jobs," he said.

"The support is helping, but we need more of it. We've got a lot of local people in the area who want it to happen, because there's nothing in the local area.

"I think there's realistically us and Dover Castle left, the only two attractions in the area bringing in people and money."

Expressions of support for the circuit's plans can be submitted via the district council's website or in writing with the reference DOV/15/00827.

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Series World Rallycross
Author Hal Ridge
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