A scheme has been proposed for development of two artificial football pitches on the Woodmere Avenue end of Ashburton Playing Fields.
Initial views and perspective from Shirley North Councillors (Cllr Sue Bennett, Cllr Richard Chatterjee and Cllr Gareth Streeter) have been outlined in this document.
Details of the document are outlined below, and in addition points from our MORA Planning Specialist…
- The scheme itself will provide benefits for Croydon as a whole and significantly increase access to superior sporting facilities for teams across the borough
- Some of the additional facilities – such as a gym and a possible café – might also be attractive to some in the wider community
- However, our initial view is that the benefits of the scheme will not be ones that appeal to its proposed immediate neighbours – the residents of Woodmere Avenue and other nearby residents.
- The scheme would however, present potentially significant challenges to residents such as loss of view, closing off of MOL, light/noise pollution and increased traffic.
- As such, it is highly unlikely that the Shirley North team of councillors would feel able to support the scheme without significant and substantial changes
The current understanding is that the scheme would consist of the following:
- 2 x artificial pitches
- Changing rooms
- Community room
- Car parking
- Small community gym
There is also the potential for a community café although it is not currently clear if that would be an additional facility of located in the community room.
The initial funding for the project would come from the Football Foundation (Premier League) and would be run as a commercial venture. The London Football Trust would give / sell the long lease (25 years) to a contractor to run.
The site would occupy 5 hectares of land (currently classified as MOL) at the corner of Woodmere Avenue. The map below details where the site will go (NOTE: this map has been constructed by the Councillors based on a verbal briefing and has not been provided by the officers behind the scheme):
Potential problems / risks / concerns
- Closing off of MOL (there would be fencing surrounding the site)
- Flood lighting on the pitches and potential light pollution
- Noise pollution
- Road access from Woodmere Avenue would be created
- Increased traffic down Woodmere Avenue and surrounding roads (Orchard Avenue / Glade / Gladeside and others)
- Risk of on-street parking issues despite presence of car park
- Loss of view for some Woodmere Avenue residents
- Loss of privacy – particularly depending on how vehicle access is managed
- High risk of significant change of character
Issues highlighted by MORA Planning Specialist
- Loss of MOL (We are looking into the Planning Policies for development on MOL)
- Noise nuisance from football fans of playing clubs
- Local parking problems
– Increased parking, there are already problems at the weekends
– Woodmere Avenue is too narrow to take additional traffic and parking.
– At the weekends, it is impossible for the emergency services to gain access
- Noise from additional traffic
- Loss of views
- Flood lighting would be very intrusive to the neighbouring houses
- A café would increase rubbish, vermin and also unsocial behaviour
– What would be the open hours of the Café
- A facility of this nature is totally unsuitable in a residential area
- We already have several local sports facilities
- Increased Flooding risk of rear gardens and properties in Bywood Avenue from the Chaffinch Brook which runs through Ashburton Playing Fields
Potential material planning considerations
- Change of character
- Environmental – noise / light pollution
- Contravening local policies (building on MOL)
- Loss of privacy
Officers are planning to submit a full planning application in ‘late summer’ with a full consultation commencing soon.
- Councillors to discuss scheme and planned response with MORA and residents
- Consider organising a public meeting and inviting Cabinet member responsible