Black Isle motocross row rumbles on as Highland Council confirms it is probing concerns
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A FRESH row over a controversial motocross track on private farmland owned by a Ross-shire councillor is being probed by the local authority.
The track on land at Ord Hill Farm near Fortrose has triggered complaints about noise over the weekends with some fed-up residents claiming it can be heard for miles around.
Highland Council confirmed it is dealing with a number of complaints with investigations being led by its planning enforcement team.
The organiser of the track, which is on land owned by one of the Black Isle ward councillors, Jennifer Barclay, has claimed those against it are spreading misinformation – but a fresh round of complaints over the weekend has thrust the spotlight back on the issue.
After a number of people discussed noise at the track on social media, a spokesman for the motorcross group said there were only four bikes taking part – and claimed only two complainers were spreading "lies" about what is happening.
Dave Munro (40), who is from Forres, said that the group were not breaking any laws, but will lodge a planning application in the next few weeks to make the track an official site.
Addressing complaints about noise on the track ahead of last weekend, he said: "Well, there will be no bikes on the track this weekend as we are moving machinery onto the land."
When asked what the machinery was for, Mr Munro, who claims to represent the landowner as a mediator, said the group would be moving top soil.
The land is owned by councillor Jennifer Barclay who said she had "absolutely no comment" to make about the track.
Confirming both Highland Council and police had visited the site, Mr Munro said: "We are still here."
Organisers previously insisted that no money was being charged for the use of the track.
One opponent took to social media to thank the landowner "for ruining another weekend for their neighbours by allowing motocross riders on their land with no consultation"
A long exchange has subsequently been removed from a community Facebook page.
The Ross-Shire Journal approached one local resident, Morag MacNamara, who lives in a property adjacent to the site, for a comment. She said: "Last Saturday there were a couple of low powered children's bikes and quads which caused no noise issue at all. There were two or three adult bikes which could be heard from inside the house at times but nothing too awful.
"Sunday was a different matter. It was very loud at times and most of the noise seemed to be created by about two of the bikes. They could be heard clearly indoors and being outside for any length of time wasn't an option. As you can no doubt imagine, if two can create that noise level, then multiplying it by10 or more is unbearable.
"I think it's completely unreasonable to be singled out and named by Mr Munro, especially when no member of my household or family has posted any comments on the topic. Anything we have had to say has been directly to Mr Munro and the landowner's son. Any complaints made to the authorities by me have been done with fair prior warning to the relevant parties and only after attempts to discuss the issues face to face were unproductive.
"I assume I have been targeted and named, not because I've been 'sneaky' but because I've been direct and upfront."
A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The Highland Council’s planning authority are dealing with a number of complaints. Enquiries are ongoing at this time. Investigations are being led by the council’s planning enforcement team.”