The owner of Penshurst Off-Road Cycling (PORC) in Kent is selling up due to continued vandalism at the South East dirt jump, downhill and cross-country mountain bike trails.
Mike Westphal, who founded the club almost 20 years ago, says the current situation is “impossible”, with vandals breaking into the site on a regular basis, stealing equipment, driving the club’s diggers and causing thousands of pounds of damage.
“I don’t want to sell it but I have no choice,” said Westphal. “We’ve been to Kent County Council but we’re privately owned and therefore not eligible for any funding.”
To make the situation worse, PORC has to compete with nearby BedgeburyForest, which is owned by the Forestry Commission and, according to Mr Westphal, is heavily subsidised.
One potential solution would be to install CCTV cameras – PORC recently had mains electricity put in at a cost of £42,000 – but Mr Westphal says the cost would be prohibitive.
Mr Westphal, who owns the PORC trails as well as the 45 acres of land surrounding the area, wants the area to be kept open to cyclists, and says he will include a clause in the sale document to ensure the land isn’t used for housing.