New plans for Hesketh motor race track

THE old Hesketh motor race track could become a massive construction site if an environmental impact assessment for a proposed 33,2 hectare country estate development gets the green light.

Details are sketchy at this early stage of the development, but reports in the The Witness indicate that a draft scoping report is being compiled by a consultancy in Howick.

According to a document, a Durban-based company, Brachyline Investments, has proposed to build a mixed-use residential and commercial development around the former race track.

Brachyline Investments’ proposed mixed-use development includes retaining much of the race track as the central access through the development.

Retail outlets, restaurants and office space form part of the plans.

The residential component is expected to include different densities and styles of homes, including those aimed at the “retirement active” over-50s market, and entry level housing in the form of flats.

The retirement component includes a dining room, kitchens, frail care, clubhouse and sporting facilities located inside the former track.

Entry and exit points for the estate were proposed along Murray Road opposite Grimthorpe Avenue, opposite the Rehoboth Country Estate entrance and opposite Bourne Avenue.

A green belt is planned through the development as a five- to 10-metre buffer along the western and northern boundaries adjacent to the neighbouring Hesketh Conservation Area.

The Roy Hesketh Race Circuit was built in 1953 in honour of a motorcycle champion of the 1930s, Roy Hesketh.

A number of plans have been advanced to develop the track over the decades, but these have not come to fruition for various reasons.

Racing was stopped there in 1981, mainly because nearby homeowners complained about the noise.

Mike Fogg, a former South African road-racing champion who has effectively controlled the race course since about 2002 through the Roy Hesketh Motor Racing Foundation, is, according to one source, believed to have last year sold the track to a property developer.

Fogg could not be reached for comment.

According to reports he was also closely involved in the acquisition of Johannesburg’s Kyalami race circuit in the early 2000s, and the allegations of financial irregularities that were purported to have occurred at that time.

The Roy Hesketh Motor Racing Foundation was supposed to have restored and preserved the track in terms of conditions imposed by the Msunduzi Municipality.

In 2004 the municipality allegedly granted the foundation exclusive occupation and development rights for the site for 15 years.

Since then, however, very little has happened on the track, apart from some motor industry-related events that are held there periodically.

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