A motocross enthusiast hoping to open a bike track in South Tyneside says an initial meeting with council chiefs has proved positive.
Dean Hart, who started riding as a youngster, believes creating a place where people can go to ride off-road bikes could go some way to tackling the issue of illegal riders.
It was all really positive. I have also spoken to the police briefly and on the face of it, they appear to like the idea too.Dean Hart
He is now seeking the help of the council and the police to make it a reality.
He aims to operate any site as a not-for-profit company with any money made being ploughed back into the track, while also linking in with the youth offending teams and other youth groups.
It had been suggested Temple Memorial Park could be an ideal location, however, the council have told Mr Hart this is not an option and are now exploring if any other land would be suitable.
Mr Hart, from Whiteleas, said: “The meeting went really well with the council. They really liked the idea.
“They asked where I was thinking about putting it and they said Temple Park wouldn’t be an option, but they would go away and see what land there was available.
“They are also looking at what the implications are in relation to health and safety and asked me questions about how it would be run and the noise levels etc.
“It was all really positive. I have also spoken to the police briefly and on the face of it, they appear to like the idea too.”
He added: “I’m really pleased how everything is going. They haven’t dismissed the idea and do seem interested.”
The idea was initially thought up in response to readers concerns on Facebook to police considering the use of drones to try and catch illegal riders causing a misery for residents and putting lives at risk.
Mr Hart said: “I think if there was somewhere where they can go and ride in a controlled environment, it might not eradicate the problem but it would help to take some of them off the streets.”
Mr Hart’s idea includes creating a track where people can ride, which will be monitored. A cafe where riders can sit and chat and find out more about bike safety and bike maintenance would also be a feature. Safety clothing could also be provided - with visiting professional riders visiting and passing on advice.
Noise level tests will also be carried out on any bikes brought to the site, with a view of operating a pick up and drop off service for those wishing to access the site.
At present there is nowhere in South Tyneside where it is legal to ride a motor bike off-road. They can only be ridden on private land and only with the landowners permission.