Dunkeswell karting circuit backed by former F1 champion granted premises licence
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 16 April 2019
A premises licence has been granted by councillors at a karting circuit backed by former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell.
The licence will enable alcohol to be sold from a first floor bar of the Mansell Raceway building, adjacent to the Mansell Raceway Outdoor Karting circuit, situated on the edge of Dunkeswell airfield.
Concerns about 'drinking and driving' at the karting circuit had been raised by objectors to the application, but East Devon District Council's Licensing and Enforcement Sub Committee on Wednesday chose to grant the premises licence.
Amy Cater, from Tozers Solicitors, representing the applicant, said that the Mansell brand is hugely important to Nigel Mansell and they wouldn't make any business decisions that will negatively impact on that brand and that they would not allow anyone to 'drink-drive' on the circuit.
She said: “This is successful business but it needs to provide more to meet customer demand. Similar tracks all over the country have restaurants and serve alcohol, so this is not an unusual situation. Customers want the experience of a meal and a drink with a meal, rather than just turning up and driving. The fact that alcohol would be served doesn't mean there will be drink-driving on the circuit.”
Explaining their protocols, she said that to protect public safety, breathalysers will be used if a racer is suspected of drinking, racers will be given wrist bands to prevent drink driving, drinking vessels won't be allowed outside premises, and that customers will be told to leave quietly, not to talk loudly outside the premises, and there will be a challenge 25 policy and a refusals register.
She added: “As with all rural locations, there is a risk that someone attending licensed premises will make a decision to break the law and drink drive, but that isn't a reason for refusal. Drink driving can happen in town centres, and if this was the case, then there should be no licensed premises in rural area and pubs on Dartmoor shouldn't have a licence.
“The licence will help this part of East Devon to maintain a vibrant economy and through the conditions, we feel the concerns have been addressed, and our operating hours are less than similar premises nearby, some of which are in the middle of housing estates.”
Residents have raised concerns about 'drinking and driving', light pollution and 'general nuisance', stating: “The current opening hours are long enough, alcohol and driving is not a good mix, noise levels would be extended, the tranquillity of the area will be disrupted, and light pollution for wildlife and local people would be vastly extended.”
Mansell Raceway Ltd had asked East Devon District Council for permission to open from 10am-10pm, Monday to Wednesday, and 10am to midnight, Thursday to Sunday, and to sell alcohol from 10am to 9.30pm, Monday to Wednesday and on Sunday, and from 10am to 11.30pm, Thursday to Saturday.
The committee, following an hour long meeting, agreed to grant the premises licence.
Announcing the decision, committee chairman Cllr Steve Hall said: “The licence will be well managed because of the extensive operating schedule the management has offered. The hours of licensable activities are proposed are not excessive and reasonable and proportionate in relation to the locality and the type of activity that is proposed.”
He said that two further conditions were to be added to the licence – one that a dedicated phone number was provided to residents and that all windows and doors will be shut at 10pm.
Cllr Hall added: “We do understand the concerns that have been made today by the residents but we believe the conditions are reasonable and proportionate and should address the concerns.
“I would encourage that this is reviewed after six months and if there are any issues that are serious, then residents should contact environmental health, licensing and indeed police officers if there is something seriously intolerable. But I hope we do not reach this stage.”
Permission for the racetrack to be used for karting would remain unchanged from the present 9am-9pm, Wednesday-Sunday restrictions