Parents urge council to reconsider after under 16’s quad and biking track told to shut down

Three-year-old Levett at the Oakland MX track

A quad and biking track off Ebbsfleet Lane that was set up for under 16s has been shut down by Thanet council.

Oaklands MX, run by biker enthusiasts  Mark Hamilton and Robert Godden, started at the site last year but has been closed due to covid restrictions.

The friends say the aim is to teach youngsters how to ride quads and motorbikes in a safe manner and add that there is a strong focus on getting children who are disadvantaged or live with conditions such as ADHD involved in a social activity.

The site, at land off the Sevenscore roundabout, had originally been the subject of an application by Ovalsport Ltd for a stock car racing track but this was rejected by Thanet council and, on appeal, by the Planning Inspectorate.

Ernie Mcleary aged 4

Mark says the current circuit is a far cry from the previous proposals by the last applicants.

He said: “We are here one day at the weekend, one week on a Saturday and then on a Sunday. We open at 8.30am but there are no bikes until 10am out of respect for the local residents, We do not run for hours, it is just from 10am to 3pm.

“We opened up after the lockdown and had some meets but then the council shut us down. We did not know the permitted development rights had been revoked and nor did the landowner.

Track photo Robert Godden

“This is something for under 16s and we have had a lot of support from parents about being here for the kids, especially the kids with disabilities and ADHD.

“We have proper facilities and a burger van but there is nothing left on site when we finish up.

“We want to stay open and carry on doing this for the kids. We have put a lot of money into it and will lose that if this gets rejected.

“We’d like locals to come and see us and see what we do.”

The pair have had dozens of emails and messages of support from parents who do not want to lose the facility but there have also been complaints about noise made to Thanet council.

One parent said: “Everything is done properly, there are marshalls, health and safety, firs aid. It is something good for the children and keeps them off the streets. This has caused so much disappointment for the little ones, The nearest track like this to Thanet is Maidstone so I think Thanet really needs this.. I strongly believing closing this down was the wrong decision.”

Photo Robert Godden

Another parent has written to Thanet council, saying: “Our youngest son has Autism and this is the only activity outside of the house that he will participate in.

“The staff at Oaklands are fully inclusive of age and disability and have made both of our children most welcome. They have been particularly patient and understanding of our younger son’s disability and have taken time to let him adjust to the environment. They understand his needs and give him space to ride his bike in a safe and secure environment. The staff are absolutely amazing and have gained his trust which they should feel very proud of.

Our children look forward to their day out at Oakland’s and have made some new friends. It’s a nice, well managed site, where family is at the heart of everything they do.”

They added: “We ask that you don’t take this facility away from our children.”

Mark and Robert say they are now seeking advice on a planning application in the hope they can reopen at the site.

The pair say they have also had to clear up after someone entered the site and spread rusty nails on the track.

Photo Robert Godden

A Thanet council spokesperson said action was taken following complaints about noise and disturbance from the track.

They said: “The council investigated the use of the site following complaints about the noise and disturbance being caused.

“Concerns have been raised over the use of the land for racing over the past two years, with particular concerns regarding the impact on residential amenities of nearby residents, impact on highway safety (including additional traffic using the level crossing) and the impact of the use on the environment regarding biodiversity and groundwater.

“Permitted development rights for temporary uses of the site were removed following the retrospective approval for engineering work, so there wasn’t planning permission for this use.

“The council served a temporary stop notice on the land on April 29 to prevent unauthorised use immediately and to safeguard amenity and safety in the neighbourhood.

“This notice will expire after 28 days, within which time the council will assess and determine whether a full enforcement notice will be served. As part of this process the operator could appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.”

Find Oaklands MX on facebook here


  1. I have ridden and raced motorcycles for 60 years so possibly know a little abought the subject. Having visited this site it is a shame that the council and the local residents are so short sited. This operation gives young people an opportunity to get outside and have some fun while learning some important life skills.

    • Absolute Waffle and i cant believe anyone would vote you in,
      The kids track is just a test before they put the adults track in.

      If it was just little kids, Why did they get kicked out of Canterbury ?

      • You have nothing better to complain about that you don’t want kids to have fun the reason they got kicked out of Canterbury if by accidentally breaching planning permission by cutting down to many trees to expand the track so get your facts right

  2. Once again the killjoys of TDC have their own way hiding behind imaginary problems, this facility is properly organised and if the parents don’t think it safe they would have told the organisers who would then made safe all complaints . Lighten up TDC and let people enjoy their life you only get one chance of living ,if you’ve fxxxxd yours don’t mess with theirs

    • The problems are not imaginary. Local residents are fed up with the hours of noise and disturbance.
      I wonder if the quad bike I encountered on the nature reserve, being driven by a child, was anything to do with this set up?

      • People ride places like that because tdc won’t allow anywhere for young children to ride so if the track was open this would not happen

      • Just be quiet You just have nothing better to complain about I bet your the type of person to say “oh kids don’t got outside and play anymore like we used to “ but you’ll be the first one to complain when you see them having fun in a safe ,friendly environment. Most of these complaints are pure jealousy to be honest

      • Just be quiet you have nothing better to do but complain about kids having fun in a controlled, safe environment. As it says it’s only once a week 10-3. Your just the type of people to complain and get the tracks close but you’ll be the first one on the phone to the police after you see kids riding in fields and on the streets cuz u miserable sods have got all the tracks closed

      • So closing the track done a favour? No made people go elsewhere! This was a safe place for kids to have fun.

  3. Well this looks like it’s been earmarked for houses then thanet district council have no care for anything except lining there own pockets are they getting money from this venture they should re think and adapt as there is nothing for the kids now and that’s a shame

  4. its always the same when some ones enjoying them selves and not causing any harm , it does nothing but good for the lads and kids to be able to do this safely and with everything in place , they moan when they are in the town or the seafront , they go miles out of the way and people still want to stop it , what do people realy want in thanet ? it seems whatever people try to do theres some **** that wants to stop it , if they had took up morris dancing everyone would be clapping and cheering.and at least they are not the grafti artists that are booming around this dump. or is it beacause T D C is not getting a rake off ?

  5. I used to be very involved in the schoolboy scrambling scene during the 70s & 80s and this was a great sport for the boys & girls they thoroughly enjoyed the sport and made lifetime friends, it would be great shame to stop them enjoying themselves, it also gave the kids a sense of responsibility looking after their bikes .

  6. Absolutely ridiculous,something once a week for the kids to do and people moan about noise🤷‍♀️ Let the kids be kids and stop bloody moaning about noise as they said 10/3 5 hrs go out if it upset you that much

  7. Such a shame the council don’t seem to see what good it’s doing for the kids wellbeing after being locked you for over a year due to COVID and for the young kids happiness that it will brings also the lessons they will learn how to respect and ride motor bikes and quad as they get older which a lot of young bikers don’t get

  8. Amazing how the planning department can be so strict on enforcement of rules in this case but let’s through developer proposals that clearly don’t meet TDC poicy rules – is it all to do with the size of the envelope or does one of them live nearby?

  9. I live in Dane valley with NO track but yet daily we get bikes of all sorts race by. So as for locals complaints at this track they really don’t have a argument. 1 day a week controlled and staff this should be given grands and help to develop so child have somewhere that can enjoy themselves in a safe place. If they were a group of kids painting bikes and not riding they would get big funding, but bikes are a great way of teaching kids so many life skills for themselves and others.lets give major support to keep TDC and others from ending this. Think we’re this is sites, as for noise there is more noise from road then these bike so they can’t argue that noise is the problem and it’s 1 a week. Come on people help them stay

  10. Mark and Robert why not ask for help from bikers, mainly the great guys n girls who organises the hospital toy runs. Many of these guys n girls have great knowledge of how to get things done to help you and these young kids. Also TDC won’t like taking them on because you will also have the hospitals backing you because they know what’s good for these youngest. Just a thought but would be a good step forward to help you

  11. It seems like councils all over just keep shutting everything down and not replacing anything. It’s so sad to see my grandchildren, yet again losing out on their fun and healthy outdoor activities. In one village where one of my grandsons live they have shut the swimming pool down. In another village where my oldest grandson lives , he’s 11 the council sold the golf course for housing but then couldn’t build on it because it has species of bats that are protected. So now it lies empty. What will be left for our youth to enjoy. There is so many problems in the country with young people being disrespectful, fighting, stealing from shops etc but they are losing everything that keeps them off the streets bored and nothing to do. My 11year old grandson spent every free hour at the golf course. He couldn’t afford to play everyday but he would practice on the putting green and chipping. All day from morning till dinner time. My younger grandson loved his swimming and belonged to the team swimmers, always there practicing and exercising and now nothing. It’s very sad . So very sad.

  12. My son is devastated that the track has had to close. TDC should be funding startups like this for local kids but instead take the complaints of a few short sighted residents as a way to stop fun. As others have pointed out there are plenty of controversial planning applications that have got through which have lined the pockets of a corrupt TDC. The track is well run, safe and not at all loud due to the banked surroundings. It’s also next to a main railway line which is much louder. The road and rail crossing leading to the site used to be a very busy route so comments about the crossing being unsafe are clutching at straws. TDC do the right thing and support this!

  13. “We opened up after the lockdown and had some meets but then the council shut us down. We did not know the permitted development rights had been revoked and nor did the landowner.

    “We want to stay open and carry on doing this for the kids. We have put a lot of money into it and will lose that if this gets rejected.

    The land owner Mr Smith Constructed the Oval track himself, He was there everyday, We have photo’s to prove this and TDC already have this information, He told the residents that he could do what he likes when questioned before.

    I’m sure if you were going to spend so much money you would look into the previous planning applications, I have never read so much waffle in an attempt to get what you want, It’s all lies.

    The whole, This is for kids is rubbish, There are many comments on the facebook page that ask when the adults track will be open and Mr Mark Hamilton replies are all that it will follow soon. ( Delete them now, We already have the evidence,
    They are just testing the water to see if they can get away with it.

    Any application for this site needs to be stopped,
    Racing, Travellers Site, or Housing
    It has been left for over a decade for nature to take its place

    • You see people having fun for 5 hours a week that’s it and your first thought is “how can I ruin it for them”

  14. Ebbsfleet lane !! Theres only a few houses in that area. I would have thought the railway and the dual carriageway was just as noisy.

    Shame when kids are stopped from doing what kids do ! Still I guess if it was an arty thing TDC would throw 10s of thousands of pounds at it, plus the kids are quite when showing off their unmade beds etc.

    Riding off road is great fun and teaches good bike handling.
    I don’t know what it is about thanet but adults dont seem to want kids to do anything, theres very little on thanet for kids so things like this should be encouraged.

  15. The kids round here need something to do so why ruin there fun would you rather them be out smashing things up and spray painted over everything scaring oap just let them have some fun like we did when we was that age

  16. Kids need this but as we know TDC and KCC will always stop it
    The neighbours were there when it was a go kart track so what’s the difference

  17. TDC only allow so called art crap and outside groups to flourish with our funding in Thanet. God forbid if the residents want something!!

  18. Young people need facilities to practice their skills. If we didn’t have go-cart tracks we would not have Formula One champions like Lewis Hamilton. Motor sport has been used many times by Probation Services and other youth engagement groups to channel interests in motor sports and divert antisocial behaviour on our roads into safe and educational activity. Help to encourage road safety and health activity learning mechanical skills. There are now many electric powered bikes available to avoid noise complains. Properly supervised like Surrey Youth Trials Club

  19. If TDC and others are happy to open a gigantic cargo hub in Ramsgate where thousands will endure noise in excess of 100Db over their houses every 12 minutes then it seems absurd they wouldn’t be all for even more noise elsewhere in their relentless pursuit of the ruin of peace.

    Bring on noisy bikes, roll up for jet skis, let’s keep those giant planes coming in low n loud.

    In all seriousness, I think a bike track is a super idea for the Isle and I’ve got just the right derelict blob of land to suggest it goes on. MANSTON.

    • Emmeline, but quite possibly all the residents around this particular track and there’s only a few, may also be against the airport! it may not just be the noise of the track, it may also be the noise of them racing up to and from the track and the constant racing around our streets and country lanes by boy racers, bikes, quads and the “drifting” that after going on for so much time, just drives people to despair.

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