The viability of Wakefield Park as a motorsport facility is uncertain following a NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC) ruling handed down yesterday, 13 July 2022.
Wakefield Park’s owners, the Benalla Auto Club (BAC), undertook LEC proceedings in relation to a new development consent for the facility that was issued by Goulburn Mulwaree Council on 13 July 2021. That consent was subject to numerous unworkable conditions. During the proceedings, Council proposed further and more stringent conditions.
While Wakefield Park’s appeal was upheld by the LEC, the LEC largely adopted Council’s proposed conditions. These severely restrict the number of days per year that the circuit can operate at various noise thresholds. Their effect will make it impossible to operate as a sustainable business.
From yesterday, use of Wakefield Park for more than 4 events per month would constitute commencement of the new consent and require surrender of the facility’s existing consent. Wakefield Park will therefore reduce its operations to no more than 4 events per month until an alternative pathway is determined.
The LEC decision is a shattering blow to the BAC, which submitted the DA with an intention of upgrading and improving Wakefield Park’s facilities. Wakefield Park’s existence as one of only two permanent motorsport facilities in NSW is now in jeopardy. Nevertheless, the BAC recognises the importance of Wakefield Park not only to the local economy, but to the wider motorsport and automotive industries. It remains committed to exploring all options with every level of government to preserve the facility.