War continues over scrambling site
VILLAGERS who won the battle but not the war in a bid to close a controversial off-road scrambling site are taking up arms again.They had hoped the bikers' failure to claim ownership of The Pits at Trimley would mean an end to motorcycling, but after a summer of Sundays ruined by noise caused by the activity they are on the warpath again.
By Richard Cornwell
By RICHARD CORNWELL
VILLAGERS who won the battle but not the war in a bid to close a controversial off-road scrambling site are taking up arms again.
They had hoped the bikers' failure to claim ownership of The Pits at Trimley would mean an end to motorcycling, but after a summer of Sundays ruined by noise caused by the activity they are on the warpath again.
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The Pits, next to the A14, attracts bikers from all over the region – with vans loaded with machines arriving regularly from Essex, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, as well as local youngsters using it to hone their skills.
Now fresh action is being looked at to stop the site being used and county councillor Patricia O'Brien is to meet eastern area highways chief, Guy Pearse, to discuss a possible plan.
Trimley St Mary Parish Council told Mrs O'Brien that the scrambling this summer had been as bad as ever.
"People want to sit in their gardens and relax, but the noise coming across from The Pits is just dreadful," said councillor Jean Harper.
"It just ruins people's enjoyment of their homes – both in St Mary and Trimley St Martin."
Council chairman, Hazel Blackshaw, said many of the bikers arriving with vans and trailers and parking in the entrance to the site were from other counties.
"We have never had any objection to local youngsters using it as somewhere to practice, but we cannot have it used for organised competitions and meetings as these larger vehicles seem to indicate," she said.
It has been suggested the area around the Trimley interchange and the sliproads should be made "clearways" so no-one could park on them at all – but it would seem a wasted effort as the vans and trailers do not park on them anyway.
"It is a very difficult problem and a menace to local people, but I am sure we can find an answer. The problem might be that we cannot stop motoryclists from outside the area and just let local youngsters use it – all bikes would have to be banned to make policing possible," said Mrs O'Brien.
The site has been used for scrambling for 30 years. Various measures were tried to stop the use, including putting crash barriers on the slip road to stop people parking and unloading bikes, and stiles and metal gates – ripped out by vandals in 4x4 vehicles – were put in.
Three years ago The Friends of Kirton Pits, led by Desmond O'Keeffe and Tim Meyer, launched a High Court bid to claim ownership.
The bid failed at the first hurdle when Trinity College, Cambridge, the Stennett Family Trustees, and Messrs Smith and Parfitt produced deeds and other documentary evidence to prove they were the owners.
It was said at the time that the land would be planted as a community woodland, but the bikers have carried on using it and no planting has yet been done.
It is understood that Bidwells, agents acting for Trinity College, have been considering the use of a warden on a motorcycle to liaise with the bikers.