Green light for expansion plans for Dunkeswell outdoor karting circuit

The new proposed building at Mansell Raceway at Dunkeswell Airfield.

The new proposed building at Mansell Raceway at Dunkeswell Airfield. - Credit: Archant

Expansion plans for an outdoor karting circuit at Dunkeswell – which received backing from former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell – have been approved.

A new workshop, reception area, and visitor and race control facilities will be built in a new building next to the 750m outdoor racing track at the Dunkeswell Aerodrome.

They will replace the existing temporary buildings and outbuildings currently used by Mansell Raceway.

East Devon District Council planners had approved the scheme back in 2017, but were forced to revise their application to move the building, rotate it 10 degrees towards the racetrack and to increase the height by 50cm after problems with the under-structure were discovered.

Councillors were told that there would be an increase in the glazing on the first floor, facing south, meaning there would be an almost four-fold increase in the amount of windows.

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Ward councillor Colin Brown recommended the plans be refused after voicing concerns the building would ‘stand out like a lighthouse’.

He said: “Last year the committee decided the building that was acceptable. This is totally different to that building.

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“It would be very difficult to argue the situation of 18inch taller making a difference to it, but the big difference is the windows.

“It will end up with light spill in the open countryside. This is a building that is on top of the plateau and it will be stand out like a lighthouse any time it is being used with the lights on… It will be detrimental to the Blackdown Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so it should be refused.”

Njal Lovell, representing the applicant, said: “Whenever the name Mansell appears, the planners are in for a very rough ride from a minority of the community.

“It is a shame really, as the local parish council seem happy to approve any planning on the airfield, but not for another long standing business that has been on the site for over 50 years.”

Cllr Paul Carter said that there were ways that the harm of the light pollution could be mitigated, adding: “It is great to see this business moving forward as they have been there for a long time.”

Councillors voted by 13 votes, with one abstention, that subject to lighting mitigation being approved, the plans should be signed off.

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