RECOMMENDATION: That in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992, planning permission be deemed Granted subject to conditions.
WARD: Southgate Green
1. Councillor Alexandrou withdrew from the Committee for this item.
2. Councillors Anolue and Hasan were present from this point of the meeting.
3. The introduction by Claire Williams, Planning Decisions Manager, clarifying the proposals and highlighting the additional information in the addendum report.
4. The application site is located to the south of Alderman’s Hill. It falls within Broomfield Park which is a Grade II registered park, and consists of 9 sports courts. The site is also identified as local open space, metropolitan open land, and a site of archaeological interest.
5. Planning permission is sought by the Council, for the refurbishment of 9 Sports courts, involving resurfacing and partial reconstruction of the courts, installation of low level footpath bollard lighting from the entrance at Alderman's Hill to the courts, and installation of floodlighting.
6. The application was brought to Planning Committee on 21st May 2020. The application was deferred by Members to obtain more information regarding existing and projected usage of the courts, to demonstrate the need for the floodlighting on Metropolitan Open Land and within the historic park and the benefits of the proposal to the local community, and this additional information is clearly set out in the addendum report.
7. With regard to the usage of the courts by local schools, there are a number of local schools within the borough such as West Lea School (N9) and Grange Park Prep School (N21) that use the courts as well as others schools that fall outside of the borough, which raises no planning concerns.
8. The need for the improvements to the existing courts and proposed floodlights is clear and justified. The proposal would assist with increasing the participation of people playing netball and tennis in the Borough and meeting the Councils strategy and objectives for the sports courts at Broomfield Park and the wider community.
9. Receipt of 443 representations in support of the application from residents, the wider netball community, and local councillors: many addressed to Bambos Charalambous MP, and a petition received today.
In summary, matters raised include:
· Immediate and positive impact for maintaining netball in the park
· Improved facilities including the provision of floodlights would increase the uptake in the usage of the courts for both tennis and netball for people across all age groups, abilities and ethnic backgrounds.
· Provides income for the community café and other local businesses.
· Without the floodlights and the refurbishment of the netball courts there would be a real danger that netball will no longer be played in the park and the viability of the North London Netball League.
· There are football pitches, rugby pitches, tennis courts, basketball courts and skateboarding facilities in many parks around the Enfield area, but these are the only netball facilities in the borough. They are a central part of the netball community in Enfield and north London.
· Important for health and well-being and social cohesion.
10. The courts have been identified as requiring significant improvement. The proposal will include resurfacing the sports courts for netball and tennis use in line with Sports England’s requirements.
11. As discussed at the May 2020 planning committee, it is recognised that the proposed floodlights due to their number and height, would be visible. Alternative floodlights in the form of retractable, demountable and strip floodlights have been considered. However, they have been dismissed because retractable floodlights would result in excessive costs to the council, in terms of the installation of the retractable columns and their management, demountable columns would result in excessive costs and management and safety issues of manually having to retract the demountable floodlights on a daily basis, and the strip lighting option would not meet Sport England’s requirements in terms of recommended uniform illumination levels. Consideration was also given to fixed floodlight columns at a height of 6 and 10 metres, however it is considered that the 8 metre floodlights are the most viable option in terms of design, Sports England guidance and the management and operation of the courts.
12. The Council will receive grant funding for a total of £100,000 from Sport England’s Community Asset Fund, to go towards the redevelopment of the sports courts. However, this is subject to terms and conditions, including obtaining planning permission and ensuring the facility is adequately floodlit.
13. On balance, it is considered that the proposed development would give rise to less than substantial harm to the heritage value of Broomfield Park, and any perceived adverse effects would be offset by the public benefits provided by the improvements and increased accessibility of the courts, and is therefore considered acceptable.
14. The proposal would be appropriate development in Metropolitan Open Land as it would support outdoor sport activities. The floodlights are reasonable and necessary to support use of the sports courts and would not detract from the openness of the site. In addition, due to the nature and scale of the proposal with no significant digging below ground level there will be no archaeological impact.
15. There would be no undue impact on neighbouring residential amenity, traffic and transportation, trees or drainage.
16. The proposal would provide improved community facilities and support the health and wellbeing of the local community.
17. The statement of Councillor Ian Barnes, Winchmore Hill Ward Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Council with a portfolio including sport, in support of the officers’ recommendation.
18. The statement of Councillor Maria Alexandrou, Winchmore Hill Ward Councillor, in support of the officers’ recommendation.
19. The statement of Councillor Daniel Anderson, Southgate Green Ward Councillor, in support of the officers’ recommendation.
20. Councillor Rye welcomed the provision of all the information requested by the Committee and would be pleased to support the recommendation.
21. The unanimous support of the Committee for the officers’ recommendation.
AGREED that in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992, planning permission be deemed granted subject to the conditions set out in the report.