Agenda item

New Dawn View, Gloucester - 23/00280/OUT

Application for determination:


Erection of up to 30No. dwellings with all matters reserved (apart from access).


Owing to having declared a prejudicial interest in the item, the Chair withdrew himself from the Chamber at the start of the item. The Vice-Chair chaired the item.



The Planning Development Manager presented the report detailing an application for the erection of up to 30No. dwellings with all matters reserved (apart from access).



The Chairman of Widden Old Boys RFC spoke in opposition to the application.


He stated that the application should be rejected on the following grounds:


-       He was speaking on behalf of both Widden Old Boys RFC and Old Cryptians RFC in opposition to the application.

-       Granting the application would deprive up to 200 children from sporting opportunities each week due to the reduction of 1.8 hectares of open space.

-       Sport England were inaccurate in their assessment that the site had no special significance to the interests of sport.

-       The area from the North-East of the proposed site to Laburnum Road was used by children each Sunday from September to May  for the purpose of playing Rugby Union.

-       Widden Old Boys had roughly 100 youth members that would be deprived of Rugby Union.

-       Old Cryptians RFC had roughly 200 members that would be deprived of Rugby Union.

-       All age groups below 13 were based at Blackbridge Sports Field. The granting of the application would mean that they would not be able to train or play on the field anymore. This activity dated back to the 1990s and it was not financially viable to play elsewhere.

-       The affected area was also used annually for one (sometimes two) tournament/s.

-       The proposed conversion of the land would prevent 200 children a week and 500-600 children during the annual tournament/s from playing Rugby Union.

-       The catchment area was economically deprived, and the granting of the application would remove free rugby provision for children and young adults. This could not be considered to be in the best interest of the community.

-       Blackbridge Community Land Trust had misrepresented the position of Old Cryptians and Widden Old Boys



 A Planning Consultant representing the applicant spoke in favour of the application.


The planning consultant said that the application should be granted on the following grounds:


-       The application had been 7 years in the making.

-       The application had been subject to rigorous public consultation

-       The City Council had allocated the area for development in the adopted City Plan.

-       The proposed community and sports hub had been approved at the previous Planning Committee meeting.

-       The City Plan stated that the use of a small part of the site for residential development released the wider site to deliver significant net gains.

-       The successful delivery of the Sports Hub was dependent on the application before the Committee being approved.

-       The applicant would transfer the rest of the playing field to the City Council.

-       A not for profit organisation to benefit the community would be set up to provide sports to the community

-       The land in question was allocated in the City Plan for approximately 30 dwellings and the application in front of the Committee was for “up to 30 dwellings”.

-       The application provided all the technical detail required.

-       The application would provide 20% affordable housing. This was policy compliant.

-       The application would provide bio-diversity net gain.

-       The applicant would provide education and library contributions.



The Planning Development Manager responded to Members’ questions concerning whether properties would be fronting the sports field, questions regarding the comments from the Public Right of Way officers, whether the playing pitch strategy was up to date, concerns raised about whether Sports England dictated the terms of the application, whether Members could go against the assessment of Sports England, whether Members could reject the application on the grounds that there would be a loss of playing pitch provision, whether the two rugby clubs who had objected could use the pitches once the application was completed and whether granting the application would deprive children and young adults from participating in sport as follows:


-       Whilst there would be some loss in the quantity of sports pitches, the quality would be of a higher standard. The drainage would be far better, and it would be able to be used throughout the year.

-       There was some confusion initially from the public right of way officer as she believed that the public right of way on the south side of the site was going to be replaced by the road but that this was not the case. 

-       The Playing Pitch Strategy  had been updated, and the conclusion was that there was a need for the type of facility proposed in the area. It was allocated in the Playing Pitch Strategy. The impact of the loss of quantity of playing provision were replaced by the quality of what would replace it.

-       Sports England did not dictate the application. They were a statutory consultee. The site was allocated in the City Plan, as was the adjacent site.

-       If Sport England had objected to the scheme, it would be difficult to approve the application as they were a statutory consultee. If Members wished to refuse the application on the basis that a loss of playing pitch quantity outweighed the benefits, Members would be allowed to do so. However, the decision would be subject to an appeal. The comment from Sports England would be given significant weight.

-       The site was allocated for development in the City Plan. If Members wished to go against the officer recommendation, there would need to be a sound planning reason for doing so and it would be difficult for it to be on the principle of development as it had been allocated and voted through by Members in the adopted City Plan.

-        The site had been allocated for development in the adopted City Plan.

-       Sports England did not approve the scheme as such, their comments were relating to the fact that they believed that the principle of development was acceptable. Equal or more weight should be given to the fact that the site was allocated in the adopted City Plan and there was a lot of evidence that went into that allocation.

-       It was important to separate the fact that there was an amount of playing space being lost compared to the qualitatively better provision that would replace it.

-       The two rugby Clubs (Widden Old Boys, Old Cryptians) who had objected would be allowed to use the grass pitches and could use the 3G pitch for training. He was unaware if they would have to pay to use the 3G pitch and this was outside of the scope of the application.

-       There was no ‘depriving’ of sports provision, as what would replace it would improve the availability of sport provision throughout the year.

-    Some properties would front onto the sports field. Further details would be provided by the applicant at the reserved matters stage. It was only the principle of access that was being considered in the outline stage.




The Highways Officer responded toMembers’ questions concerning the access road, whether traffic lights were being proposed as part of the application, concerns around safety at the junction and how much trip generation the application would create as follows:


-       The access road was approximately 5.5 metres wide, the carriageway on the bridge was approximately 8 metres wide. There were cycle ways on the carriage way as well.

-       There were no proposals for traffic lights at the junction.

-       There were occasionally issues with getting out of the junction in heavy traffic, but that is not unusual for a busy urban area.

-       The traffic generated by the application itself would generate 15 two-way vehicle movements in peak hours. This was unsubstantial.

-       There was reduced visibility for drivers at the junction. However, for it to meet safety standards, drivers needed to be able to see at a driver’s eye level of 1 metre and the junction did go beyond this minimum safety standard.



Members’ Debate


Councillor Conder noted that she understood the officer’s comment regarding the quality of the proposed sports pitches, but that, for rugby specifically, the quantity was more important as they could not play matches on artificial turf. She said that the housing would lead to an even greater demand for persons to play rugby and other sports and that the pressure on the area could be increased.


Councillor Tracey raised concerns regarding the potential fronting of houses onto the field.


Councillor Gravells noted that every Member voted for the City Plan which included the allocation of the site for development. Councillor Gravells noted that the speaker in opposition to the application spoke well but highlighted that the City Plan had gone through a rigorous consultation and had been scrutinised and approved by all Members.


Councillor Tracey expressed concern about a loss of sports provision for children.


The Vice-Chair noted that there had been a very thorough debate and noted that there had been numerous questions posed to the relevant officers. He said that it was clearly a difficult application, which was why it came to the Committee. He noted that it was an outline application, with the remainder of the detail to be provided at the reserved matters stage.


The Vice-Chair proposed, and Councillor J.Brown seconded the officer’s recommendation.


As the vote was tied, the Vice-Chair acting as Chair used his casting vote to approve the Officer’s recommendation.


RESOLVED – that delegated authority was granted for officers to GRANT planning permission subject to no new substantive planning issues being received by 06/07/2023 and subject to a S106 with the Heads of terms and conditions outlined in the officer report.


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