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  6. London Irish plans rejected by minister

London Irish plans rejected by minister

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has dismissed two planning appeals by London Irish Rugby Club involving sites in Lower Sunbury which had been refused by Spelthorne Council.

The first application was for a new training ground on the site of the current Hazelwood Golf Course off Croysdale Avenue ( Appeal B) and the second was for development of the club’s existing training ground off The Avenue for 194 dwellings (12 with associated workspace), site for a health centre, care home and public open space (appeal A) .

These decisions were in line with the recommendation of the planning inspector who held a public inquiry held in June.

Councillor Richard Smith-Ainsley, the council’s deputy leader and planning cabinet member, said: “We are delighted with the decisions that the Secretary of State has taken. There were substantial concerns about both applications including the loss of urban open space by developing The Avenue site and concerns about the impact on the Green Belt and noise at the Croysdale Avenue site.

“We hope this decision sends out a clear message to all developers about the importance of both our urban open space and Green Belt in the borough.”

The minister’s decision letter said: “Overall, the Secretary of State considers that the Appeal A scheme is not in accordance with the development plan and planning policy, particularly with regard to the low proportion of affordable housing proposed, and should therefore be dismissed.

“Furthermore, although Appeal B would be acceptable in principle in planning terms, given that the two appeals are inextricably linked financially, the Secretary of State concludes that it would not be capable of implementation on its own in accordance with the planning obligations as they currently stand. In particular, he is not satisfied that there would still be sufficient public benefit to justify the development of Green Belt land. He therefore concludes that the Appeal B scheme as it currently stands should also be dismissed.”

Download the decision letter and inspector’s report.


Roger Milne

1 December 2011