Roy Hesketh falls silent

2010-06-17 00:00

THE Roy Hesketh race track in Hayfields has hit a dead end.

This follows the Msunduzi Municipality’s decision to buy back the property it initially sold to the Roy Hesketh Motor Racing Foundation after it was found to be in breach of contract.

Initially rented out to the foundation in January 2004, it was sold to it in June 2005 for R3 250 000. Certain development conditions were attached to the sale.

Council lawyer Johan van der Merwe said: “In essence, the contract says that if improvements have not been done within a certain time period, we have the right to request purchase and retransfer the land to us at the purchase price.”

He said there have been numerous complaints about the noise coming from racing cars.

“All that the purchaser was doing was using the land for motor racing, which is not allowed in the agreement,” Van der Merwe said.

According to the signed agreement, the purchaser was supposed to fulfil the following:

• Restore the historic race track;

• Construct a total of 89 residential units;

• Have a motor club complex that would house an exhibition centre, museum and a conference facility;

• Establish passive recreational facilities that would be open to the public;

• Allow the use of the circuit for six annual classic car events, driver and cycle training programmes as well as the launching of motor products; and

• The money generated by the foundation was expected to boost the city’s economy, attract tourists and provide about 110 permanent job opportunities.

Of all the proposed items listed, only the first was met, which put the foundation in breach of contract.

Ward councillor Sandy Lyne said she was aware of all the problems associated with the misuse of the land and that the municipality had actually sold it at a vastly reduced rate.

The land is now worth at least 10 times the amount it was first sold for, she added.

“We can re-acquire it and sell it at a significant profit. It would have been a fantastic development, but it was only used as a race track which created a real nuisance,” Lyne said.

Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr said the municipality’s decision “may result in litigation”, but its decision stands.

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