Agenda and draft minutes

Tottenham Hotspur FC Training Centre, Planning Panel - Monday, 5th June, 2006 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room

Contact: Natalie Cole 020 8379 Email: 4088/ 

No. Item


Appointment of Chairman


RESOLVED that Councillor R Hayward chair the Panel.


Declarations of Interest


NOTED that there were no declarations of interest from Members of the Panel.  Ward Councillors Dreblow and Wilkinson also declared that they had no personal or prejudicial interests in respect of items on the agenda.



(i)            Purpose of the meeting


(ii)            Introduction of Applicant’s representatives and Officers of the Council


a.            Purpose


Julian Jackson (Head of Development Control) introduced the purpose of the meeting. 


NOTED that the purpose of the Panel was an opportunity for interested parties to highlight concerns about the application submitted by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) in the presence of the applicant and agent. 


It was not for the Panel to determine the application made by Tottenham Hotspur Football club.  A decision would be made at a special Planning Committee to be held on 11 July 06 at 7.30pm at the Civic Centre.


b.            Introduction of Applicant’s representatives and Officers


Paul Barber, Executive Director, THFC

Peter Dixon, Hepher Dixon (Agent)

David Kierle, Director, KSS Design Group (Architect)

Katheryn Robinson, Director of Community, THFC


Officer's summary of the planning issues pdf icon PDF 83 KB


Planning Officer, David Snell provided a summary of the planning issues surrounding the application.




a.         The site


23.4 ha of land (9.3 ha of existing sports pitches and 14.1 ha of agricultural land) to the north and east of Myddelton House, Bulls Cross.

The site lies within the Metropolitan Green Belt, a designated Area of Special Character and partly within the Forty Hill Conservation Area.


b.            Proposal


Football training centre involving erection of a building to provide football academy facilities with indoor football pitch, together with a total of 12 ½ external pitches (1 x floodlit grass, 1 ½ x floodlit artificial, 10 x grass), installation of mesh fencing and associated pathways, together with erection of groundsmans' store, entry lodge with barrier and electricity sub-station.  Construction of access road off Whitewebbs Lane with associated car and coach parking, and landscaping.


The building comprising 11,799 square metres of floor space would be sited towards the northern half of the centre of the site.  The building would consist of two flat roofed wings 8.2 metres in height surrounding the indoor football pitch dome, which rises to a height of 10.5 metres.


98 parking spaces and 5 coach spaces are to be provided with additional overflow spaces (structured reinforced grass).


A groundman’s store building (605 square metres) is to be located in the southeast corner of the site.


The existing sports pavilion sited to the west of Myddelton House is to be demolished and the existing tennis courts would also be removed.


c.            Amendments since the withdrawn application    


·                    The building has been redesigned

·                    Duplicated floor space in the Academy and First Team facilities reduced

·                    Reduction in the size of the building from 12,049 square metres to 11,799 square metres

·                    No longer proposed to locate the community partnership building at Bulls Cross Open Space


d.         Main planning issues


·                    The principle of the development having regard to its Green Belt location

·                    The impact on the open character of the Green Belt

·                    The impact on the Forty Hill Conservation Area and Area of Special Character

·                    The traffic impact

·                    The layout and the design of the buildings

·                    Building design and sustainability issues

·                    The impact on adjoining occupiers

·                    General compatibility with development plan policy


Presentation by the Applicant's Agent - Hepher Dixon


Paul Barber, Executive Director, THFC, introduced the visual presentation, copies of which can be obtained from the Committee Secretary, and joined representatives to speak in support of the presentation.


a.            Background to the current application




(i)         The Club’s Academy had been using the facilities at Myddelton House since 2002;


(ii)        The initial planning application (reference TP/05/1741) submitted in 2005 had been objected to by many interested parties and members of the local community. 


After extensive consultation revised plans were submitted (reference TP/06/0735) including:


·        No development on the Bulls Cross open space

·        An enhanced Borough-wide Community programme

·        Improvements to the overall design of the First Team and Academy Training Centre

·        Improvements to the overall design and layout – resulting in a reduction of 2810 square metres of floor space – more than 20% of the original floor area

·        Making the facility “greener” through the use of renewable energy and more efficient water use and recycling


b.         The planning position




(i)         Peter Dixon, Senior Director, Hepher Dixon, highlighted that the current scheme could be classified as appropriate development of the green belt as the use of land was for outdoor sports and car parking etc.


Most leading London football clubs had developed similar facilities on green belt land.  Councillor Lamprecht asked for examples of these clubs.  Peter Dixon highlighted that Arsenal Football Club had a training facility at London Colney, within Hertsmere (Metropolitan) green belt, Chelsea had a facility within Surrey green belt land (Metropolitan) and Manchester United within Cheshire green belt land.


The development would consist of 96% of open space and 4% of buildings;


(ii)        Government policy was to promote sports facilities of this kind and the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s World Class City agenda included sport as a main feature;


(iii)       The proposed scheme met green transport requirements.  The element likely to generate the most traffic was weekend matches, which were already taking place at Myddelton House.  There was also the opportunity to promote green travel in consistency with National and Regional policy for sport.


c.            Design and detail of the training centre




(i)         David Keirle Director of KSS Design, highlighted that the site was visually contained, with access from Whitewebbs Lane.  Consideration had been given to the location of Myddelton House and Forty Hall in consultation with English Heritage in order to integrate the development and landscape to maintain open views.


            English Heritage had encouraged designers to enhance the medieval hedgerows currently on site;


(ii)        The design incorporated a variety of pitch sizes to accommodate various age groups and those between the woodland would be synthetic pitches.  The main building and one pitch would be the only floodlit areas of the development and all training would cease by 8.30pm and the site would be closed by 9pm on any day during the football season (September to April);


(iii)       The current design did not include a Community Partnership Facility but rather the facility would be incorporated into the main training centre building;                                           


(iv)       The design  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Order of meeting


RESOLVED that the order of meeting be changed to enable concerns to be dealt with by issue rather than order of speakers.


Green Belt Issues




1.            Councillor Simon asked what the basic rules surrounding the development of green belt land for sports use were.


David Snell reported that three policies should be considered: the Unitary Development Plan (UDP), the London Plan and Planning Policy Guidance II (PPG2).  The use of green belt for sports could be considered as appropriate, including the provision of small scale supporting buildings, however, the building was large and although some of the facilities within it were considered necessary to support the outdoor sports activity in policy terms it was considered to be inappropriate development.


2.         Mr Jeffrey, local resident, suggested that the revised application would be considered a commercial development, which was not encouraged by PPG2.


            Kathryn Robinson highlighted that THFC’s community investment level remained unchanged and some school’s actually preferred the outreach service.


            David Keirle emphasised that the Pearsons Test was conducted to determine a balance of harm and other factors to do with the application including a combination of the need for development as well as the absence of available alternative sites outside the green belt.  The benefits to the community associated with this scheme outweighed the harm.


            Mrs Oliver commented that PPG2 did not encourage sport stadiums in the green belt.  Paul Barker emphasised that the scheme was not a sports stadium in any way.  PPG2 stated that “supporting facilities” should be granted planning permission on green belt and one third of the building was in fact taken up by changing rooms and similar areas.


3.            Councillor McCannah (Cockfosters Ward) drew the Panel’s attention to section 3.4 of PPG2, which stated that the construction of new buildings on the green belt was considered inappropriate unless to replace existing buildings or for changing rooms and small stables etc. and highlighted that the application being considered was for a building of 11,000 square metres, which he felt was unacceptable.


4.            Councillor Wilkinson (Chase Ward) asked what consideration had been given to possible brown field sites for the development.


            Peter Dixon explained that details of the extensive number of other sites considered, including the possible extension of the current facility, could be found in the application report.


Traffic Issues


1.            Councillor Lamprecht asked what green traffic initiatives would be put in place by the Applicant.


            Peter Dixon explained that the Club would restrict the opportunity for people to travel to the site by car by limiting parking spaces available. The Club would encourage this by offering coach/shuttle bus services to and from public transport connections.


2.         Local resident Mr Peace highlighted that Carterhatch Lane was already heavy with traffic and had a speed limit of 20 miles per hour (mph).


            David Keirle highlighted that access to the site would be removed from Myddleton House and the only access would be from Whitewebbs Lane and additional traffic safety measures would be put in place.  THFC had been in discussions with Transport for London (TfL) and LBE and detailed traffic surveys had been submitted including weekend use and the current use of Spurs Lodge.


3.            Councillor Simon asked if the First Team and other adult players would use a shuttle bus or coach service to attend the Training Centre.


            Paul Barber stated that members of the First Team would be travelling to the Centre from home and would make their own way, however, this would not impact rush hour traffic as training was held later in the morning.


4.         Mr Dreblow, resident, highlighted that concerns were not simply surrounding the speed of traffic but the nature of traffic in the area of Whitewebbs Lane, which were mostly artic lorries carrying deliveries to and from Crews Hill nurseries.  It would be very dangerous to transport young people through this area.  On a Sunday morning the traffic was extremely heavy and slow in the area.


            This concern was backed up by local resident Jill Simpson, who also highlighted that access to the Centre was on an almost blind spot of the road.


            David Keirle emphasised that extensive traffic measures would be put in place in consultation with LBE and TfL to improve current traffic issues in the area.  The site was currently used by the Club’s players on a Sunday morning and so there would be no more traffic generated by the development.


5.         Local resident Mr Claydon alleged that the resident of the Game Keepers Cottage on the site had not been consulted about the proposal.  He claimed that access to the site from the Game Keepers Lodge entrance had become an established public right of way over the years.  The Archery Club used this entrance on a regular basis.


David Keirle explained that the Club had attempted to make contact with this resident on a number of occasions but negotiations were not civil and confirmed that there were no public rights of way across the site.


The Chairman stated that Members would ensure that consultation was conducted as it should have been.




6.         Local resident Mr Nash asked what arrangements had been made with public transport companies in order to deal with the extra people who would be using the services to get to the Centre.


            David Keirle  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Conservation Issues


1.            Councillor Pipe asked why the area was designated an Area of Special Character and highlighted that there was no Conservation Officer available at the meeting to answer the question.  The Chair said that the information would be made available for members of the public who requested it.


2.            Councillor Simon highlighted that the Centre was very near to Forty Hall and asked if on-going archaeological investigations would continue.


David Keirle explained that English Heritage (Archaeology) had confirmed that there was unlikely to be any significant archaeological remains on the site and THFC had agreed to continue to consider the archaeological aspects of the land and keep a watching brief.


3.         Local resident Colin Pointer felt that the development would harm wildlife and highlighted that it was recently recommended that the Forty Hill Conservation Area be extended to include the proposed site of the Spurs complex.


4.         A representative from the Enfield Preservation Society felt that the site should remain a conservation area and not become a commercial establishment.


5.         Mr Nash, after pointing out an administrative error on the paperwork sent to members of the public and asked for it to be minuted that the correct reference number for this application was TP/06/0735, asked how the strategic panoramic views of the Myddelton House and Forty Hall landscapes would be protected.


            David Keirle explained that the floodlights could not be seen from Forty Hall or Myddelton House.  Through discussion with Lee Valley and English Heritage it had been decided that the existing Pavilion, Tennis Courts and car parking areas would be removed and significant improvements to the landscape would be added.


6.            Councillor Dreblow drew attention to the 2.5-metre fencing included in the plans.


            David Keirle explained that security measures such as the fencing, which had been agreed by Lee Valley and English Heritage would sit within the hedgerows, was necessary due to the number of young people who would be using the Centre. 


7.            Councillor Brett asked if the Tennis Courts would be replaced?


            David Keirle stated that the Tennis Courts had not been used in years and whilst they would not specifically be replaced; THFC was in discussion with Capel Manor to discuss other possible replacement sporting facilities.


8.         Jill Simpson expressed concerns about that the consultation was unfair and incomplete and that a letter previously submitted by English Heritage regarding the initial application submitted by THFC was not available in the public file.


            Stephen Tapper explained that the evening’s Panel was part of the consultation process and new issues will be raised and information obtained before the matter came before the Planning Committee for consideration.  If residents were interested in one particular aspect of the application Council Officers could provide that information. 




1.         Local resident Ms T Clarke asked what the impact of the development on wildlife would be.


            David Keirle explained that a number of surveys on wildlife had been carried out and advice had also been obtained relating to more opportunities for wildlife to develop on site after the development, rather than less.


2.         Mr Nash explained that he had been led to believe that the soil used for the proposed pitches would be detrimental to wildlife.


            David Keirle stated that this was an inaccurate statement.  The variety of pitches would consist of manicured grass, which would not encourage wildlife alone, although the addition of wildlife corridors would.


3.         A resident highlighted concerns regarding bat activity in the area.


4.         Jill Simpson asked what benefit will an exclusive training facility (a commercial venture), plus the tiny number of academy boys offer Enfield Residents, that will enhance and protect the environment and their way of life for the future and offset their loss of enjoyment of the natural environment of this green belt land of metropolitan importance and special character which is confirmed by your own report and felt the residents of Enfield would lose the ecological and environmental benefits of this land.


            In response to 3 and 4 above Peter Dixon explained that a detailed ecological assessment had been conducted on a whole variety of flora and forna and the development was considered to be a benefit to the people of Enfield in the context of nature conservation.  At present the land was private farmland without a landscape management plan.  At present there was no agreement to conserve the land, whereas the development would secure conservation.


            Mr Keirle added that further studies on bats had taken place and the design of the floodlights had been amended to avoid any impact on bats.  Further studies were due to be conducted at the appropriate time of year to establish other possible species.


            Stephen Tapper, Assistant Director (Planning & Transportation), informed the Panel that further independent advice on ecology would be obtained in relation to the application.


5.            Councillor Dreblow asked if the use of holding tanks and aquifers would alter the level of the water table.


David Keirle explained that water management was seriously considered by THFC and the water irrigation tanks had been designed to work in reverse to retain water in the holding tanks.  The aquifers would supply water at a constant temperature and achieve the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s objectives for water efficiency.  


Design Issues


1.            Resident, Mr Miller expressed his concern that the building design did not match others in the area.


            David Keirle explained that further to extensive consultation the building had been redesigned and the type of design was encouraged by the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone as part of the making London a World Class City initiative.  Proposed materials used were modern and of high quality.


2.            Resident, Mr Pointer asked how many different levels would be required across the site to achieve flat football pitches with no gradients and also what CCTV was proposed with the development.


            David Keirle explained that it was not intended to remove any materials from the site in order to separate levels. 


            There were currently CCTV cameras on site but there would be additional cameras installed in consultation with Lee Valley.


  1. Councillor Pipe asked if the building was designed to reduce energy consumption and queried the viability of both a combined heat and power (CHP) system and biomass boiler and also enquired about the option for future use of wind turbines in the Energy Assessment Report.


            David Keirle affirmed that the building was designed to use low amounts of energy, to recycle all water and had high levels of thermal insulation as well as limited cooling using the aquifer cooled water.  The aquifer water could also be used to heat pitches during the winter season.  Large parts of the building would not be in use for much of the day and so the building would not consume a great deal of energy, which was 20% reusable.  THFC was considering the use of biomass boilers, although the use of wind turbines for energy on site would not be appropriate.


4.            Councillor Simon asked if the 2.5-meter fencing would be permanent. 


            David Keirle explained that the light-green netting would be erected throughout the football season and removed during the summer months.  


Amenity Issues


1.            Councillor Brett asked if there would be any noise emanating from the site, which might affect the environment or surrounding properties.


            David Keirle stated that concerns of noise disturbance from the site had been raised by Lee Valley, who’s Head Offices were on site.  The West side of the site would be in use during the day but would be used by professionals and would not sound like a park playground.  Lee Valley had visited the current training grounds on a Saturday and was satisfied with the noise levels.


Numbers of people attending the site were provided:  30 members of the First Team would attend morning weekday training sessions with approximately 10–15 reserves and coaches for a stay of 4 hours, although there could be proposals to extend the sessions to 5 or 6 hours in the future.  Full time attendees of the Academy would consist of up to 35 17-21 year olds plus coaches.  Part time attendees would attend three times a week in groups of 30 for each year group.  There would be an absolute maximum of 120 people using the centre in one day.


2.            Councillor Lamprecht expressed that the infrastructure could deal with and additional 120 people a day and asked why it was necessary to have 12.5 pitches. 


David Keirle explained that Football Association regulations meant that clubs were required to have pitch sizes to cater for all ages.  Each pitch could not accommodate more than a couple of matches per week.


3.         Mrs Holmes, local resident, expressed concerns about the use of public water on the development and also felt that by granting the application LBE was making way for future developers to use green belt land for commercial developments.


David Snell explained that LBE would be advised accordingly with regard to water usage. Regarding Mrs Holmes concerns about development on green belt land, David Snell explained that the appropriateness of the application would be determined at the Planning Committee in July.




Kathryn Robinson highlighted that the Club offered a broader community scheme but the 50,000 outreach hours and the 10,000 hours at the Centre were exclusive to Enfield schools.


1.         Mr Wynne, local resident, expressed that he felt the proposal was an immense benefit to local children and young people and asked what other options the Council could offer if the application was rejected. 


            Stephen Tapper highlighted that these were broader issues than could be considered by the Planning Committee but would provide information on activities provided by the Council if Mr Wynne left his contact details.


2.         Local resident John Lennox of the Enfield Sports Advisory Council expressed that the proposal was seen as a commercial development, rather than for sport and recreation by the Enfield Sports Advisory Council, who did not see any community benefit from the proposal as a few schools would be selected to participate in training.  John Lennox suggested a Section 106 Agreement, which would commit THFC to financial investment into grass roots sport. 


Kathryn Robinson explained that much of the programme provided by THFC did not involved football and was about participation and getting young people to used sport to excel in other areas.


3.            Jacqueline Kingdom, on behalf of the Honourary Secretary of the Myddelton House Society, expressed that: the reliance on a borehole to pump water and consequently lower water table would be detrimental to the gardens and rare plants of Myddelton House, security fencing in the proposal was higher than current fencing, it would still be possible for noise disturbance to come from First Team players.


            Paul Barber expressed that there would be no change to the training facility currently used at Myddelton House. 


David Keirle confirmed that the site would have two boreholes, and that recycling would cause less water usage than currently used at Spurs Lodge but would not affect the water table.  The matter of fencing had been discussed with Lee Valley and 150 metres of fencing in the hedgerow had been agreed.  This fencing would not be visible from Myddelton House gardens.  With regard to noise, David Keirle felt that the current usage of Myddelton House created more noise than the new Centre would.


4.         John Lennox expressed that he felt £2 million of cash being provided by THFC to the Borough would help more in terms of performance and promotion of sport than the proposed programme.


            Kathryn Robinson explained that THFC would be providing the outreach in addition to capital investment into sports within the Borough in consultation with the local authority and other partners.


5.            Resident Pam Newman, a retired Primary School Head Teacher, expressed that THFC were offering to local schools no more in outreach support than was the norm for football club and felt the 10,000 hours of access to the Centre would not benefit children across the Borough.


            Kathryn Robinson emphasised that 10,000 hours of access to the main site in addition to 50,000 hours of outreach support could mean 1.5 days a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Close of meeting


The Chairman thanked Panel Members, the Applicant and their representatives, members of the public and Ward Councillors for attending the meeting.