Ecotricity News

Football Stadium Approved  (BUT….)

The planning application by Ecotricity/Dale Vince for the football stadium on land by Junction 13 was passed by SDC’s Develoopment Control Committee on Weds 18/12/2019 by a vote of 6 – 4.

We hoped that this would be called in by The Secretary of State, leading to a public enquiry. This was declined, however, so the outline permission stands.  There are conditions ,though, and there will be plenty of haggling before the full detailed permission is granted (although it probaby will be eventually)

This second application was very similar to the first ( which was rejected in July 2019) with some small additions to boost the apparent community benefit and clarify some details.  These included the provision of an all-weather pitch  for ‘community use’, and some detail on the landscaping.  In addition, although this is in theory an outline application, it was said that the design of the building and some of the undertakings by the applicant would be ‘fixed’ via a binding section 106 agreement.

It has to be noted, though, that Nailsworth Town council have been unimpressed by Dale’s record on keeping to similar agreements in the past.

Although they gave no real reasons beyond the fact that it was an ‘iconic’ building, the Stroud planning officers had recommended that the Committee should approve the application – going directly against the provisions of the current Local Plan and the Eastington Neighbourhood plan.  Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the (local)development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. We do not think that ‘material considerations’ have been shown, certainly not outweighing the harm that would be caused both to the character – and residents –  of the area in general and to William Morris College in particular (see previous posts).

We there fore believe that the officers were wrong to make their recommendation to approve,  and the Committee was lax in not questioning the reasons more fully.

The application has been referred to The Secretary of state for DCLG ( Local Government) who has 21 days from 18/12/19 to decide whether to initiate a public enquiry.  This process is normally reserved for larger applications, but the (we believe) inappropriate overruling of the Local Plan makes this about much more that the stadium.  Green spaces throughout the district may be at risk unlawfully.

Our new MP Siobhan Baillie is supporting us in this.

Update 11/02/2020 – The Secretary of State for DCLG has  extended the time needed to make a decision on this.  We await news.

Update March 2020 – the call in was declined.  The outline permission stands.