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Couple win battle for rally track

PUBLISHED: 00:45 24 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

A FARMING couple have finally won their battle to set up a rally track near the A12 after councillors decided it was not worth risking thousands of pounds on a High Court case to challenge a Government inspector.

A FARMING couple have finally won their battle to set up a rally track near the A12 after councillors decided it was not worth risking thousands of pounds on a High Court case to challenge a Government inspector.

But Suffolk Coastal District Council emphasised it had not "bottled out" of protecting its planning policies and said the decision to avoid court action would not set a precedent for other planning issues.

The council was aggrieved when a planning inspector appeared to ignore policy when he granted an appeal in favour of Philip and Louise Abbott, of Beacon Hill Farm, Bealings Road, Martlesham.

The couple wanted to install a rally track on land between the Ipswich to Lowestoft railway line and the dual-carriageway.

Suffolk Coastal refused to allow the scheme and councillors said it would be an intrusion and harm the Special Landscape Area (SLA).

The couple appealed and succeeded, but Suffolk Coastal then threatened to take the dispute to the High Court because council policy states motor sports will not be allowed in a SLA.

But the council has now dropped this idea after taking advice from its legal department, which showed that the maximum costs could be £10,000 and the chances of winning were not high enough to justify the expense.

John Richardson, chairman of the development control sub committee which refused the original plans, said: "We are not bottling out. We are guardians of taxpayers' money and we have to spend it wisely. We were told we had a case but it was a case that, I suppose, was about a six to four chance of winning.

"It was pointed out that had we won the case we would have had to claim the costs back from the secretary of state and if we had lost we would have had to pay his costs as well."

Mrs Abbott said the couple were delighted with the result and they would start work on the track during the winter.

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