Work has started on an off-road motorcycle track in Wellingborough.
A steel security fence to go around the edge of the site off Shaw Close, Park Farm, is being built and in a few weeks the track itself will be built. It is hoped the site will be opened in July.
Wellingborough Council granted planning permission for the track in March, in response to increasing reports from residents that antisocial use of motorcycles was becoming more of a problem in residential areas. When police challenged the young people riding the motorbikes, they were repeatedly told that they only used residential areas because they had nowhere else to go. A legal, local track, properly run and supervised, was unanimously approved by councillors.
The track will be run by 90-One Education, a Northampton-based education organisation that promotes the safe use of motorcycles by young people and offers rider training. 90-One have been closely involved in the site design and have been working with the council and the Wildlife Trust to make sure the area is well looked after.
When it's up and running, the project will offer courses of 12 two-hour training sessions for organisations that work mainly with young people. It will be financed through fees and charges, but a certain amount of free places will be available to young people living in the borough. Quad bikes will be available for people with disabilities who are unable to use two-wheeled bikes. Bikes and safety equipment will be provided, and should young people arrive at the site with their own bikes they won't be allowed to enter and the police will be informed so that the bike can be checked to make sure it's legal. For security reasons, bikes and equipment won't be stored at the site.
The project will work with local schools and the police to identify under-achieving pupils who could benefit, as well as using the courses as an incentive for pupils who show improved academic work.
Councillor Malcolm Waters, chairman of the council's Community Committee, said:
"This is an exciting development for young people and off-road motorcycle enthusiasts in and around Wellingborough. I'm particularly pleased that people with disabilities will have a chance to be involved in the activities on offer. Building the perimeter fence is a significant milestone in the delivery of this project, and I have every confidence that the remaining work will be completed smoothly so that we can open the track to the public in July."