Chairman's Blog, March 2022


The Association has put in a robust and detailed objection to the plans by Bellway Homes to build 107 dwellings on the former LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road off Grand Drive.  You can see our objection here .

We delivered 700 leaflets to the households closest to the ground, urging residents to respond by the revised deadline date of 16 February, with a copy to us, and are pleased to note that very many objections have been submitted. 

Please note: although the deadline has passed, our experience is that the Council will accept and take later comments fully into account, given that it is highly unlikely that the application can be considered before summer at the earliest and that the statutory agencies have yet to be consulted. 

The application is numbered 21/P4063, and anyone responding must give their name and address for the objection to be considered, although these will not be seen by the public at large.  We would remind Members to state clearly if they are objecting, and then give the reasons. 

There was a previous application in 2020, which has not been withdrawn, and it is uncertain whether Bellway intends to proceed with this in some way or not. The previous application was for 89 dwellings and so Bellway is trying to maximise its profits even more by cramming in higher buildings.

We have set out very clearly that any building on the site would be a breach of the decision by the Planning Inspector in 2010 to retain the field for sports, principally for juniors, when he granted permission for the 44 dwellings now built as an “enabling development”. 

Any fresh building on the site would be a complete departure from official planning guidance.  

Ever since it bought the land, Bellway has refused, in our view, to take up any offers by schools or sports clubs to use the ground as the Inspector intended.  There is now a fully costed scheme between two cricket clubs and a junior school, all of impeccable standing, which Bellway has turned down.  

The previous Bellway planning application was objected to by Sport England and we fully expect that they will object also to the present application.   The previous application was also objected to by the Environmental Agency because of the risk of flooding. 

The risk of flooding remains and we are aware that flash floods are occurring with ever more frequency in our area, and that the water and sewage drainage system is unable to cope. 

Grand Drive is already saturated with traffic and we report here on the meeting held on 31 January with the relevant council officers and input from other agencies. Any new dwellings will put still more pressure on our schools and on our local GPs and dental practices which are barely able to cope now. And this application is on top of the permission granted last summer, on appeal from the Council’s refusal, to build 456 flats in 7 tower blocks at Tesco’s site. 

The pandemic has emphasised how important it is to preserve our open spaces for recreation and sport and drainage. 

It is absolutely vital that this application be refused.

John Elvidge, Chairman RPWBRA


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