Peter Dixon of Savills, the applicant’s planning advisors, introduced attendees from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) and their advisors on building design, landscape design, and historic buildings and conservation. Other members of the design team and officials from the Club were also in attendance to answer any questions.
1. David Keirle, Head of the Design Team, gave a presentation, illustrated with slides, including:
a. The site of 67 acres incorporated Whitewebbs sports ground and adjacent playing fields to Myddelton House. An area in the previous application was excluded from this application, but included in an ecological management plan.
b. Approximately 40 acres of this area were currently used for sports use, with private access.
c. Whitewebbs sports club building was in one of the major views from Forty Hall, and would be removed along with all the hard standing there.
d. It was also proposed to demolish the pavilion and car park adjacent to Myddelton House, and remove the access road that led to that.
e. The main building would be situated 350 metres from Myddelton House, with 98 car parking spaces, which was less than the current parking provision on site. There would also be a lodge building for security.
f. The first team area would be on the western side, including a synthetic pitch with floodlighting. The floodlighting would be heavily focussed to minimise spill and glare and only operate October to March, from 4.30 to 9.00 pm at the latest.
g. The building was rotated from the previous application.
h. The vast majority of the site would be laid out for sports pitches and grassed area.
i. There would be expansion of some hedgerows.
j. There would be two linked pavilions for the first team and the academy, with shared parts such as kit and laundry area. Most of the facilities to be provided were dictated to the club by the Football Association.
k. The indoor hall would be sunk into the ground by one storey.
l. Computer generated views of the proposed building were shown to illustrate the contemporary design in stone and glass and its limited height. The development would be sustainable and have low energy needs.
2. Robert Thorne, THFC's advisor on historic buildings and conservation, gave a presentation, including:
a. There were four main aspects to be considered to conservation issues: (i) the Grade II listed Myddelton House and ancillary buildings; (ii) the pleasure gardens that were largely the creation of E. A. Bowles; (iii) the historic field pattern and hedgerows; and (iv) the relationship between Myddelton House and Forty Hall. He wanted to confirm their importance and enhance them.
b. There had been well-established sporting use on the site for some time, but that use had become gradually detrimental to the site as pavilions, car parks, tennis courts and hard standing had become eyesores and their removal would be an enhancement to Myddelton House.
c. Many historic hedgerows had been removed and the historic field pattern had been lost.
d. It was important to reach the right balance between conservation and the proposed use. Views would be enhanced and new woodland and hedgerows planted. The proposals followed Government and Enfield Council advice and the scheme would deliver positive benefits to the conservation area.
3. Kevin Underwood, THFC's advisor on landscape design, gave a presentation, including:
a. The context of the current surrounding landscape of the site was not of low intensity agriculture, but of a number of human modified uses including scrapyards, nurseries, country parks and sports uses. These proposals would have a neutral effect on the landscape character.
b. Historic maps were shown of the area from 1785 to 1972, and the aim would be to respect history and enhance the hedges by planting new native hedgerows and to protect the view from Forty Hall facing northwards by making sure that the building was off the line of the lime avenue.
c. Analysis had been carried out in respect of visual assessments. All viewpoints had been discussed with the Council, and all views assessed along Turkey Brook, from Forty Hall, and along all public roads and footpaths.
d. Four key views were focussed on, illustrated by computer generated images from exact positions; from the existing entrance into Whitewebbs, from the Bulls Cross Road, from Myddelton House public access to the car park, and from the front of Forty Hall.
e. The building would be 250 - 300 metres away from any viewpoint and concealed by hedges and woodland.
4. Peter Dixon and John Alexander provided further details of the operation of the academy, including:
a. Weekend matches between academy teams already took place on site and would continue, but all traffic to and from would route through the new access on Whitewebbs Lane.
b. There would be improvement to the current access to Whitewebbs sports and social club, and all traffic associated with the development would be within the level of traffic generated by the existing use of the site.
c. With the agreement of Transport for London and Enfield Council, the facility would have 98 car parking and five coach parking spaces, in contrast to the current 175 car parking spaces for Myddelton House sports pitches and the Whitewebbs facility. Even at busy periods on Saturdays, there would be less people using the football training centre than the current facilities.
d. The facilities at the academy would need to meet the Football Association Charter for Quality. The academy was necessary to produce better players for the club and the national side.
e. At the moment THFC operated at three sites; Spurs Lodge for the first team, Myddelton House for the academy and they used Virgin Active Club, Chigwell. One site with top quality facilities was desired.
f. The club was operating in a very competitive environment in London and the Premiership and needed to bring locally trained players through the system, and a top class facility was needed to entice the best players.
g. The development would be managed by a team of ground staff 365 days per year; it would not be a social club or licensed premises and would not be used late at night. It would be an elite environment, with generally four or five pitches in use at any one time, where players came to train and study.
h. Floodlighting would only be used at certain times of the year and until 8.30 pm.
i. Academy matches would take place on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and there would be no stands or terracing.
j. The club's community wing had been in operation for the last five years and had 22 full time staff and 100 part time coaches working on outreach programmes and going into schools. It was anticipated that another 60-70 coaches would be employed to work with Enfield schools and reach a million youngsters in Enfield over a ten year period. The programmes had won awards, and supported the Every Child Matters policy.
k. The site was in the heartland of THFC's supporter base, and this is where they wanted the academy to be.