The planning application was for the creation of a new external sports pitch (3G Artificial Grass Pitch) at Sports Ground, Fulbridge Road, Peterborough, with perimeter ball-stop fencing, floodlights (artificial lighting), access and outdoor storage for maintenance equipment and onsite vehicular parking.
It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report. The Senior Development Management Officer provided an overview of the application and highlighted a number of key issues within the report.
Councillors Fower and Davidson, Ward Councillors, and Councillor Hedges, Werrington Neighbourhood Councillor, addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· Councillor Fower was unimpressed by the lack of alternative proposals put forward and the limited consultation undertaken by the applicant.
· Sports practices could be encouraged via other means. This development was not considered practical on the proposed location.
· The proposed entrance and egress could not be practically delivered and there was considered to be limited provision for those with disabilities.
· Councillor Fower did not believe that the need for sports facilities in the area outweighed the loss of green space. The proposal was not considered to benefit the community.
· Further consultation with the local residents was needed.
· Councillor Davidson expressed reservation over the practicality of the proposal, taking into account the risk of flooding. The site was in a flood risk zone.
· The Councillor appreciated the benefits of the development, however believed that the impact of the traffic on congestion and parking would be significant.
· Councillor Hedges suggested that the idea of a fall-back position of unrestricted people numbers and hours of use was a fallacy. In real terms the use would increase significantly.
· It was believed that the development would result in light pollution, noise pollution, loss of peace and loss of view.
· Councillor Hedges was of the opinion that spectators would stand on the proposed noise attenuation bunds, resulting in a loss of privacy for residents.
Stephen Critchley addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· Mr Critchley spoke on behalf of local residents. He believed that over 80% of residents that abutted the site objected to the development.
· It was considered that the proposals were detrimental to residential amenity in terms of light, noise and traffic.
· The facility would be open for seven days a week and it was suggested that such facilities elsewhere had attracted complaints.
· The flood lighting would dramatically alter the appearance of the area.
· The proposed noise attenuation bunds would result in overlooking, it was suggested, as planting would not prevent spectators from standing on the bunds in the long term.
· The area was not well served by public transport. The site was considered too small to meet demand.
· It was asked that the Committee consider alternative sites for the development.
Wendy Newey, Peterborough and District Football League, Mark Norman, Voyager Academy, and Tom Betts, Surfacing Standards, addressed the Committee in support of the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:
· Mark Norman advised the Committee that the site was currently not used and in need of repair. A regenerated site would be used for the community and partnered with the Peterborough and District Football League.
· It was proposed that local residents would be involved and represented within the running of the site.
· Wendy Newey explained that the applicants wished to work with the locality to bring the site back into use. Concerns raised with regards to language, traffic, car parking and bunding had been taken into consideration and the applicant has tried to address these in their proposals.
· Teams would be asked to agree to appropriate terms and conditions in relation to behaviour, planting would incorporated into the bunding, and stewards would be used to regulate parking at the Voyager Academy during the evenings.
· The applicants would operate an ‘open door’ policy for community involvement.
· Tom Betts considered that the proposals were in line with national and local policy.
· Acoustic barriers would be put in place where needed.
· French drains were to be incorporated into the site in order to mitigate against any flood risks.
· In response to questions regarding spectators on the bunding, it was advised that staff on site would police where spectators could stand to ensure the designated hard standing was used, not the bunding.
· Wendy Newey provided reassurance that the facilities would be available for community use.
· Consultation had been undertaken within the community, including meetings to which residents were invited and a further meeting with local Ward Councillors.
The Principal Engineer (Highway Control) advised that, in comparison to the fall back position, there would be no intensification of the volume of traffic. There would, however, be extended hours of usage with the installation of floodlights. It was considered that the proposals would formalise the entrance and car parking arrangements.
The Development Management Manager advised that the applicant had no duty to investigate alternative locations and that Committee were required to consider the application in front of them. The applicant was not obliged to mitigate pre-existing problems. As such, the French Drains proposed for inclusion were considered sufficient. Matters of noise and light could be addressed via condition.
The Committee discussed the application and considered that the hours of operation proposed were excessive. The Committee was reassured that restriction in terms of spectators on the noise attenuation bunding would be enforced. Members of the Committee were pleased to hear that the site would be available for use by the community. It was noted that the proposals may have an impact on residential amenity, however the Committee considered that, as the site had potential for intensive use currently, this impact was not significant.
A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation, subject to:
· The amendment of the hours of pitch use to:
- Monday to Friday – 09:00 to 19:30
- Saturday / Sunday / Public or Bank Holidays – 10:00 to 19:00;
· The hours of external lighting use to:
- Monday to Friday – 09:00 to 20:00
- Saturday / Sunday / Public or Bank Holidays – 10:00 to 19:30; and
· Delegated authority to the Corporate Director Growth and Regeneration to refuse the application if Sport England object to the revised condition, or to refer the application to the Secretary of State.
The motion was carried eight voting in favour, two voting against.
RESOLVED: (8 voted in favour, 2 voted against) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to the conditions set out in the report, subject to:
1) The amendment of condition 4 to read:
“The use of the all-weather sports pitch hearby permitted shall not take place outside the following hours:
Monday to Friday – 09:00 to 19:30
Saturday / Sunday / Public or Bank Holidays – 10:00 to 19:00
All external lighting within the site shall not be used outside the following hours:
Monday to Friday – 09:00 to 20:00
Saturday / Sunday / Public or Bank Holidays – 10:00 to 19:30”
2) Delegated authority to the Corporate Director Growth and Regeneration to refuse the application if Sport England object to the revised condition, or to refer the application to the Secretary of State.
Reasons for the decision
Subject to the imposition of the attached conditions, the proposal was acceptable having been assessed in the light of all material considerations, including weighing against relevant policies of the development plan and specifically:
· the proposal would give rise to a considerable benefit to the wider community through the provision of an enhanced playing facility and the opportunity for usage throughout the year, in accordance with paragraphs 70 and 74 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) and Policy CS18 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011);
· the all-weather pitch and associated facilities would not result in an unacceptable impact upon the character, appearance or visual amenity of the surrounding area, in accordance with Policy CS16 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011) and Policy PP2 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (2012);
· the proposal floodlighting would not result in any unacceptable light intrusion to neighbouring properties however it was acknowledged that some increased noise and disturbance would result to residents. It was considered that this harm was outweighed by the public benefit arising from the improved facilities on the site;
· the proposal provided adequate on-site parking to meet the needs of the development and would not result in any harm to the safety of the surrounding public highway network, in accordance with Policy CS14 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011) and Policies PP12 and PP13 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (2012);
· subject to appropriate mitigation the proposal would not result in any unacceptably harmful impact to ecology present within and surrounding the site, in accordance with paragraph 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012), Policy CS21 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011) and Policy PP16 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (2012);
· the proposal, subject to further details being provided, would ensure that surface water run-off was effectively managed and does not increase flood risk elsewhere, in accordance with paragraph 100 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) and Policy CS22 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011);
· adequate archaeological evaluation has taken place to demonstrate that the proposal would not pose a risk to undiscovered buried heritage assets, in accordance with paragraph 128 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2012), Policy CS17 of the Peterborough Core Strategy DPD (2011) and Policy PP17 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (2012); and
· the proposal would not pose any unacceptable risk to established trees and shrubs surrounding the site, in accordance with Policy PP16 of the Peterborough Planning Policies DPD (2012).