We would particularly draw your attention to section 12 (starting on page 54) concerning Potential Development Sites, which makes detailed reference to Brandon Stadium.
Note particularly the following paragraphs:
12.6 In the survey circulated to residents for the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, residents were asked what uses they would like to see included as part of the future redevelopment of the Stadium site. An overwhelming majority of responses wanted to see the site retained for sporting use or for the development of community facilities. There was some support for the development of small business uses, but only a handful of responses supported any form of residential development with those responses favouring either affordable housing or specialist housing for the elderly.
This survey response is entirely in line with our own survey of local residents carried out in Autumn 2017 and indeed the overwhelming response of 1,800 objections to the planning application as part of the council’s consultation process.
12.7 The site is wholly within the Green Belt and the adopted Development Plan does not contain any policy that is specific to its existing or future use. Similarly the emerging Rugby Local Plan contains no policy that is specific to the site’s existing or future use other than general policies for the redevelopment of PDL within the District.
This is an issue which we have raised in our representations towards the Local Plan and will do so once more during the public hearings later this month.
12.8 The Government’s planning policies as contained in the NPPF contain policies on the redevelopment of PDL within areas of Green Belt and on the loss of existing open space, sports and recreational facilities and buildings. Paragraph 74 states that: “Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless: a. an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or b. the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or c. the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss”.
The Parish Council are absolutely correct to highlight this section of planning policy, which is also included in our objections to the planning application.
12.10 The site has played an important role as a sports stadium for almost 90 years and is an established and valued facility within the Parish. Alongside the local and wider sporting value it has delivered to generations of people, the stadium has provided local employment and has become a valued landmark in the area. The survey of residents showed that there was overwhelming support for the retention of the site as predominantly a sporting facility whether in total or as part of the site’s redevelopment.
Again, this is entirely consistent with our own findings having surveyed the local residents.
Policy PDS1 commences:
POLICY PDS 1 BRANDON STADIUM As a long established and valued sports stadium, preference will be given to the continued use of the site either in whole or in part for sports purposes. Support will be given to proposals which would allow the site to remain in its current use as a sporting facility subject to acceptability with other policies in the Plan and to adopted Development Plan policies.
Interestingly, there is a brief reference to the Neighbourhood Plan within the Design and Access Statement in the Brandon Estates planning application.
2.1.34 Brandon and Bretford Parish was designated as a Neighbourhood Plan area on 12th May 2016. The Steering Group are currently in the process of writing the Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish, no draft has been produced, and therefore no weight is currently given to this.
We have made reference to this brazen statement in our own objections to the Planning Application, the full text of which will be reproduced on our website next week. We have included, amongst others, the following comment:
10.6 Why have Brandon Estates suggested the decision on the planning application should be made giving "no weight" to the wishes of the local community? Is it because the local community are substantially supportive of retaining the Stadium facility?