State-of-the-art new sports facilities in Alnwick could still open this autumn, despite a new planning application having to be submitted.
Alnwick Town FC Juniors are behind the scheme to develop a full-size floodlit pitch with synthetic surface, as well as a pavilion and parking, at their base at Greensfield.
The proposals were originally given the go-ahead by Northumberland County Council in December 2017, while the final piece of the jigsaw – a £409,000 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund to top up the £640,000 raised by the club – was confirmed in February last year.
However, a new planning application, for an artificial grass pitch (AGP) with a maintenance/equipment store, ball-stop fencing, pitch perimeter barrier, floodlights, a new pavilion plus parking and hard-standing, has now been submitted.
A planning statement explains that the team has progressed the project towards construction stage since approval was granted, ‘although compliance with some planning conditions (in respect of vehicular and pedestrian access) as well as generally affordability limitations has now resulted in changes to the planned development’.
It adds that following advice from planners and other officers at the county council, it is accepted that ‘the extent of changes presented within this new proposal cannot be approved by way of a minor material amendment or a variation of conditions, because the proposed changes will be material and therefore new full planning permission is required to implement the development’.
However, ‘the project team remains committed to delivering this project and, if planning permission is granted for this new proposal, installation will be scheduled for the new facilities to be opened during autumn 2019.
‘With the principle of development already agreed, this new planning application seeks to provide enough information to facilitate construction work to commence during spring 2019 and to avoid pre-commencement conditions’.
Sport England, which opposes the loss of playing fields, does not object in this case as it accepts that the new facilities will contribute to the development of sport in the area.
However, it recommends a condition to ensure community use of the pitch when not being used by the Juniors.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service