VILLAGERS joined forces to protest against a proposed Speedway circuit near Buckland Ripers.

Concerned residents, known as Buckland Ripers Against the Speedway (BRATS), voiced fears over plans by promoter Brian White to bring the sport back to the area.

The meeting of objectors, many of whom live in the tiny village off the B3157, followed a fans' forum where hundreds of dirt-track fans packed Willowbed Hall in Chickerell in support of the scheme, which would be situated around a mile from Buckland Ripers.

Among concerns raised by protestors were noise levels, increased traffic, potential impact on the environment and fears over house prices in the surrounding area.

Spokesman David Ball said residents of Buckland Ripers, Nottington and the surrounding area attended the protest meeting: "We had over 100 people at the meeting and it gave us a lot of ammunition because people locally feel very strongly against this idea. I am not against speedway itself but the proposed venue is highly inappropriate.

"If it goes ahead you might as well pour concrete over all the green areas of the country."

Mr Ball, from Buckland Ripers, added that the group did not feel their fears had been eased by Mr White at the fans' forum when he told them that any effect on villagers would be minimal.

"The road access at both ends of Nottington Lane is horrendous and dangerous at the moment without any extra traffic caused by a potential speedway development. The noise factor would also be significant and although Mr White has assured us otherwise, we feel investors would eventually want their money and there would be a risk of other sports taking place there," he said.

Mr Ball added that the group were now lobbying wildlife groups, local councillors and West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin and South Dorset MP Jim Knight.

Plans for Chickerell speedway will be discussed by Chickerell Town Council on February 20 and are expected to go before West Dorset planners on March 13.