More than 2,000 Lincolnites have signed their name on a petition against plans to reinstate horse racing on the city’s West Common. Over the past six weeks, the Hands Off Our Common campaign canvassed locals to sign the petition and also held a peaceful protest on the High Street.
Emile Van Der Zee (pictured), the man coordinating the campaign, delivered the petition at the City Hall on August 12, in time to be considered by members of the Executive Committee, which meets on Monday, August 16, to discuss the proposals.
“We strongly oppose the use of the West Common for horse racing because it would have a serious impact on the free access that everyone currently enjoys,” Van Der Zee said. “Today we presented 2,279 signatures to the Executive Committee. We hope councillors will recognise the strength of feeling on this issue and vote accordingly.”
Controversial plans deemed incomplete
Plans to reinstate flat racing on Lincoln’s West Common were made public in June by the Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company (LRRC), which asked the City of Lincoln Council for a 12-month ‘head of terms’ lease on the Common, to enable it to develop its plans, as well as environmental and traffic assessments for a racecourse.
LRRC’s proposal was met with opposition by the independent Commons Advisory Panel (CAP) who deemed the plans incomplete at a meeting last month. CAP also decided to recommended the City Council to reject the proposal.
Residents’ strong feelings for common land
“LRRC’s plans would mean many new buildings, a 40-metre wide racetrack around the whole perimeter of the common, six miles of fencing to keep spectators off the course, and a tarmac road wide enough at some places for two vehicles around the inside of the track,” said Van Der Zee
“Our peaceful campaign, organised thanks to the goodwill and hard work of a group of volunteers, has galvanised a whole community and sends a clear signal to the city council that it has a duty to protect our ancient green open spaces.”
— The City Of Lincoln Council Executive Committee is expected to decide on the faith of LRRC’s plans on August 16 at a special public meeting.