Football club raises stakes on 118-home housing development decision
YATE Town Football Club has intervened in the debate over plans for 118 new homes to be built around its ground.
As a second South Gloucestershire Council committee is about to debate the plans, which were rejected first time around, the club has backed them, saying they provide a "significant opportunity" to fund newly-announced community facilities it hopes to build.
The club released details of its development plans five days before the council's spatial planning committee debates the application by Redrow Homes for land surrounding the club's ground in Lodge Road.
They include a new multi-function community building, a ‘multi-use games area’ sports pitch and a new car parking layout.
A new charity, Bluebells Community Interest Company, would run the new facilities and the club says it would work with young people and the community, "providing accessible outdoor facilities to improve health and well-being opportunities locally".
But to build the sports pitch and other outdoor developments the club would need outside funding, which "is hoped to be secured from contributions from the new development proposed by Redrow Homes on land around the club".
Club chairman Colin Pick said: "These proposals have been a long time in coming and we’re very excited about them.
"Our plans include a new community clubhouse, sports bar, gym and function rooms, which can be used for a range of different activities.
"A new multi-use all weather floodlit sports pitch will also allow us to run development and outreach activities with our new Bluebells Community Team.
"We’ve also looked at updating our car parking for the site, which will also be a significant benefit for us.
"With these new facilities at the club we’d be able to play a much larger role in the local community, youth development and health and well-being."
Map shows the area where houses would be built under the Redrow Homes scheme (B) around Yate Town's ground (C), as well as the nearby Newland Homes development (A), which has already been granted planning permission.
The club wants to secure the extra money it needs for the project from a legal deal linked to the granting of planning permission to Redrow Homes for its development between Yate and Engine Common. Such deals, known as Section 106 agreements, are put in place as a condition of all major planning applications, where a developer agrees to fund improvements to the local area to offset the effects of any development.
Colin said: "The Redrow plans could represent a significant opportunity for the club to secure the funding it needs to help realise these new plans.
"We’re hopeful that Redrow will be given the go ahead by the council, so we can look at bidding for the funding generated from the council for certain elements of our proposals.
The developer has already proposed upgrading the floodlighting at the to football ground to LEDs, as well as boundary works including tree removal, new fencing and a wall as part of its scheme, which includes 42 'affordable' homes for below-market rent or joint ownership.
Redrow Homes managing director Lee Hawker said: "The plans for the new Bluebells community facilities at the football club would be a significant benefit to the local community in Yate.
"We’re pleased to be able to support the Football Club in its aspirations for this new development through the contributions generated by the development of our proposals."
The council's spatial planning committee is due to consider the plans on Monday January 25 because the earlier committee's rejection of the scheme went against council officers' advice to approve it.
Members heard that the land is in the countryside outside Yate’s settlement boundary and is not designated for housing, so building on it “conflicts with” council planning policy – but were told that, as national planning policy directs councils to boost the housing supply, the benefits of the scheme “outweigh the harms”.
The earlier committee heard that opposition to the application had come from 84 residents, two local district councillors, Yate Town Council and Iron Acton Parish Council, and included arguments that the rural character of Engine Common would be ruined by the estate.
Councillors agreed, with Conservative committee member June Bamford saying: “We’re going to have Yate, Engine Common and Iron Acton just one long scene of urban sprawl.”
Another scheme to build 89 homes in the same area, proposed by Newland Homes, was approved by the spatial planning committee on January 13, having been rejected by the strategic sites delivery committee, against officers' advice, less than a week earlier.
Newland Homes had already launched an appeal, on the grounds that the council had failed to make a decision within the legal time limit, but that appeal is now likely to be dropped.