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Agenda item

21/01020/FUL - Tewkesbury Cricket Club, Swilgate Ground, Gander Lane, Tewkesbury

PROPOSAL: Extension to existing pavilion.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Refuse.

Minutes:

48.34        This application was for extension to the existing pavilion.  The Planning Committee had visited the application site on Friday 17 December 2021.

48.35        The Development Management Team Leader (North) advised that this was a full planning application for Tewkesbury Cricket Club located on Gander Lane.  The proposal was to add a single storey extension - which was a slightly elevated front extension - onto the existing pavilion.  It was the view of Officers that the proposal did not represent a high quality design solution, resulting in a bulky addition to the existing pavilion that would not respect its character and appearance.  By reason of its design, it was considered that it would also adversely affect the character and appearance of the locally important open space in which it was situated.  It was therefore recommended that the application be refused.

48.36        The Chair invited the applicant’s representative to address the Committee.  The applicant’s representative indicated that the Cricket Club was a voluntary organisation providing competitive and social cricket for all ages, from four year old All Stars through to West of England League.  The pavilion was a social centre for more than 100 members, their parents, families and guests – truly a community asset.  Two years ago, the Club had launched a project to upgrade the changing facilities and increase the social space by 50%.  They had met with the Conservation Officer and a Planning Officer and had been advised not to change the view of the building as seen from the adjacent Abbey, nor to increase the roof height but to extend forward to achieve the required additional space and, as far as possible, retain the frontal appearance of the structure.  The plans produced in line with that advice had fallen foul of Sport England on issues related to accessibility and gender.  Extensive negotiations with Sport England and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had resulted in the current plans which fully met their requirements, providing more internal space achieved by the forward extension.  The application had been submitted on 6 August 2021 with the required documentation and all statutory consultees had shown support with no objections raised.  On 18 November 2021, the applicants had been informed that the application would be refused because the proposed design, specifically the flat roof, did not meet the high standard of design set out in the policies of the adopted development plan or national planning guidance.  As a layperson, the applicant’s representative could not understand why the flat roof was such an issue – it could not be due to the area because, if the design had followed the Planning Officers’ suggestion of bringing the pitched roof forward and having a flat, but inaccessible, roof in the middle that would be much the same area.  This design was thought to be less intrusive in the local landscape than the alternative, as shown by the computer generated images included in the Additional Representations Sheet, attached at Appendix 1.  The applicant’s agent asked Members to make a decision which balanced the desire for achieving the highest standard of design with the consideration of the affordability of the project, otherwise the community benefits were in danger of being lost completely.

48.37        The Chair invited a local Ward Member to address the Committee.  The local Ward Member expressed the view that the application was very important to the Cricket Club and the community and the Club had worked very hard with Officers to achieve a design which was in keeping with Tewkesbury Borough Council’s planning policies whilst also satisfying the requirements of Sport England and remaining affordable.  Despite this, the Officer recommendation today was to refuse the application.  The first reason for refusal was that the proposed extension, by reason of its design, would result in a bulky addition that would not respect the character and appearance of the existing pavilion and would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the original building; however, he argued that the computer generated images showed that the extension would not be at all bulky, nor would it even be particularly visible – looking across from the pitch, you would only see a gable as it was now with two fascia boards in line with the existing roof.  In his view the overall appearance would change very little. The second refusal reason related to the proposed extension adversely affecting the character and appearance of the locally important space which he found difficult to understand as he felt the proposed extension would be an asset as it would actually look nicer than it did currently.  In summary, the Cricket Club was very important local asset used by children and adults of all ages and the proposed extension was much-needed and would bring it into the twenty-first century.  As such, he urged Members to permit the application.

48.38        The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to refuse the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  It was proposed and seconded that the application be permitted on the basis that it would be an acceptable addition which would have no adverse impact on the character and appearance of the existing building and the benefits of the proposal would outweigh the loss of locally important space.  The proposer of the motion indicated that the Cricket Club was an important facility for the Town and the local area, now more than ever in the wake of the pandemic.  He did not understand why the application was not recommended for permission as the Town Council, Sports England and the Conservation Officer were all supportive of the plans, no objections had been raised by the public and there would be virtually no impact on neighbouring properties.  He accepted there would be some loss of open space but it was a very large area and the importance of providing a community facility with extra space far outweighed the loss of land in his view.

48.39        A Member drew attention to Page No. 133, Paragraph 7.5 of the Committee report, which stated that the impact of the proposal upon neighbouring properties had been assessed and there would be no undue impact on their amenity.  He pointed out that Tewkesbury Abbey was the only heritage asset that could be affected but the extension was in the opposite direction and was predominantly on the same footprint, therefore, he would be more than happy to support the application.  Another Member drew attention to the computer generated images included in the Additional Representations Sheet which showed a glazed area between the two extended areas; however, the plans in the Committee report said there was security fencing and he asked if it was known what that would look like when the property was closed.  The Development Management Team Leader (North) indicated that there was a security feature of some kind and that would need to be addressed by condition, should Members be minded to permit the application.  It would also be necessary to include conditions to ensure all materials matched the existing materials/fascias and to cover roofing details.  The proposer and seconder of the motion indicated that they were happy with the suggested conditions and, upon being put to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be PERMITTED on the basis that it would be an acceptable addition which would have no adverse impact on the character and appearance of the existing building and the benefits of the proposal would outweigh the loss of locally important space, subject to the inclusion of appropriate conditions to ensure materials matched the existing materials/fascias and to cover roofing details and to address the security feature.

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