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Brighton Speed Trials could be axed amid safety fears
The world's longest-running motorsports event could be stopped over safety fears.
The first Brighton Speed Trials took place in Madeira Drive, Brighton, in 1905.
But organisers say they fear for its future as Brighton and Hove City Council has not yet accepted an application to host the event in 2014.
Admitting concerns about the safety of the event following the death of a competitor in 2012, leading councillors said they had to weigh up all the options before making a decision.
But Tony Watts, of Brighton and Hove Motor Club, claimed the uncertainty was because the Green-led authority did not believe the event “fitted in” with their view of a modern Brighton.
Raising the issue at a meeting of full council on Thursday, Mr Watts said: “We have reason to believe this decision is purely ideological and has little if any foundation in fact.
“The loss of this event will mean the loss of over 100 years of history.”
Mr Watts said the decision would lead to a loss of income to retailers, the closure of the club and its Madeira Drive headquarters.
He added: “This situation will leave the council ultimately as being seen as anti-motorsport.”
Following the death of mother-of-three Charlotte Tagg, this year’s event was cancelled while a coroner investigated.
At the inquest the jury heard how vehicles were travelling at 150mph on a road with a 30mph limit.
In its place Brighton and Hove City Council agreed the seafront could be used for the inaugural Paint Run.
In response to Mr Watt, Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden, who is chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “Let’s be clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with the ideology of this administration.
“It is for personal safety grounds that the officers have made this recommendation.
“Businesses on the seafront also have to close and we are inundated with complaints from people who cannot access the beach [on that weekend].”
But Conservative councillor Ken Norman said cancelling the event would “destroy” part of the city’s great heritage.
Fellow Conservative councillor Garry Pelzer Dunn called for the local authority to have a “sense of realism”.
He asked if the council would have to close the beach, adding many more people had died in the sea than at the speed trials.
A decision is expected to be taken by the council’s economic development committee in the new year.
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