EDITORIAL. ESERVATION OR PROGRESS?
THE sport of motor-racing, while having an assured popularity among the general public in Great Britain, continues to be frowned upon by the powers-that-be. To begin with, the attempt of the Brighton Club to obtain Parliamentary sanction to rim a race through the streets of Brighton has not met with any success. This is not surprising, however, in view of the already well known attitude of the Government towards motor-racing on public roads. The alternative, of course, is to construct a circuit on private ground, on the lines of the proposed Ivinghoe course, but here again voices have been raised against the ‘proposed purpose for which the land will be used. We have received a letter from the Buckinghamshire Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England concerning a Resolution recently passed by the Committee that they “record their strong objection to the carrying out of such a project in that area, on the grour.d i that it will entirely change the character of the district and destroy the amenities of one of the most beau
tiful parts of the Comity.” Quite apart from the question of the right of others to interfere with the uses to which the owners of private land propose to put such land, we feel that the Preservation Council’s statement of the case is hardly a fair one. To quote Sir Henry Birkin, “it is silly to assume that a road course must spoil the view.” No one thinks of condemning G-oc dwood or Ascot racecourses as destroying the amenities of the beautiful stretches of country in which they are situated, and there is no reason why a motor road race circuit should be any less well
planned. In fact, anyone who has inspected the plans and architect’s drawings for the Ivinghoe track and buildings will have to admit that the whole project, far from detracting from the amenities of the neighbour:hoed, will actually add to them.
Then the view of the Council that the character of the district will be entirely changed seems to us to be in the nature of gocd tidings. The numbers of unemployed in the neighbouring villages, and the fact that most of the surrounding fields are lying fallow through bad times, is sufficient proof of the desirability for some active development of the district. In addition to the employment given to many by the construction and maintenance of the circuit (to say nothing of its benefit to the British motor industry) the presence of the track will cause a big increase in the rateable value of the property in the neighbourhocd. It is difficult, therefore, to see exactly whose interests the Council for the Preservation of Rural England considers it is safeguarding. Certainly not the
out of work inhabitants of surrounding villages, nor the ratepayers of the district, nor the thousands employed in the motor industry, which will receive such a fillip from an English road racing calender. In these days of financial stress, surely any attempt to develop a new sport, which will be of untold benefit to its parent industry, and which will provide badly needed work for many people, should receive the whole-hearted support of everyone having the welfare of his countrymen at heart. Instead, we find only “strong objection to the projection ” I