Wakefield Park Raceway has filed an appeal in the Land and Environment Court of NSW against Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s decision in relation to its expansion plans.
While the council technically approved the development application at its extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night (13 July), conditions imposed under the approval significantly reduce the number of days the raceway can operate each year.
“The conditions attached to the approved development would have a devastating effect on Wakefield Park’s operations and viability, so we’ve got no choice but to take the council to court,” said Wakefield Park Raceway operations manager Dean Chapman.
“Currently, we can operate about 290 days per year, but the reduction over three years means Wakefield Park would only be able to operate for 130 days.
“Not only is it considerably less, but there’s no reason for us to continue to invest in the facility.”
The approved development allows Wakefield Park to construct a new pit lane building, a new off-road experience, provide visitor accommodation and hold general-purpose markets 12 times a year.
New facilities consist of an additional 14 garages, space for corporate functions, race control, commentary boxes and terrace space.
These conditions were supposed to modernise the track and ensure Wakefield Park remains a viable business by catering to a wide variety of motorsport events.
However, also under the approved development, the raceway will be limited to 30 days per calendar year when noise cannot exceed 95 decibels and a further 100 days when noise cannot exceed 85 decibels.
What’s more, the council stated that noise cannot exceed 75 decibels on the first weekend of each month and at least one weekday each week to provide some relief to nearby residents.
These conditions would be phased in over a three year transition period beginning 1 January, 2022.
Wakefield Park would also need to develop a publicly available calendar showing events three months in advance and maintain a monitor close to the track that would provide the council with real-time noise data.
Mr Chapman said these conditions were frustrating given some of the raceway’s nearest neighbours had written in support of the development application.
Conversations surrounding the development application have been ongoing since September 2020 and Wakefield Park was in discussions with the council between 2018 to 2019 over a noise prevention notice.
“The development application put forward by Wakefield Park was consistent with the noise management framework that was agreed with the council,” he said.
“Wakefield Park has co-operated with the council throughout the development application process, investing significant time, effort and expense in responding to all requests.”
Mr Chapman said the long process which has attracted significant community input, had taken its toll on Wakefield Park staff.
“The staff have full confidence in myself and the owners of Wakefield Park to come through with a viable future, but they’ve got their concerns,” he said.
“A lot of them have built good careers out of Wakefield Park – one person has been there for 15 years.”