CONTENTIOUS plans to build homes on KES playing fields have been thrown out by planning chiefs.
The proposal, for six homes on King Edward VI School playing fields in Manor Road, Stratford, were refused planning permission at a meeting of Stratford District Council’s (SDC) planning committee. A closely run vote saw five councillors vote in favour of the planning application submitted by the school’s headteacher Bennet Carr, and six councillors voting against.
This was despite a recommendation from planning officers to grant the application.
And the decision marks yet another blow to KES as it is upon this strip of houses being given the go-ahead the future of a state-of-the-art redevelopment of the playing fields relies – as it will help fund the project.
This is not the first attempt to get the homes application granted. A previous application for the houses was thrown out last year and an appeal was also refused by the planning inspectorate.
However, tweaks had been made to the planning application to address objections, which included a repositioning of the houses following concerns their original position would affect the sight lines of an adjacent property, and scrapping plans for the removal of five trees.
While a petition in support of the new houses gained 1,546 signatures from members of the public who agreed the concerns of the previous application had been addressed and the redevelopment of the sports field would have huge benefits for the school and the wider community, which far outweighed any potential harm caused by the new houses.
Plans to modernise the playing fields and the Grade II listed pavilion on the site are anticipated to cost over £1million and would see the installation of a new floodlit, artificial pitch, and modernisation of the pavilion, which could be used not only by the school but sports groups in the area.
Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday October 26 headteacher Mr Carr said the school had exhausted all other avenues to fund the sporting facilities – which were originally granted planning permission back in 2008 – and without the proposed homes being given the go-ahead there was no chance of the new sporting facilities being realised.
The homes planning application has attracted opposition across the town and from Sports England,
One of its staunchest opponents is ward member Coun Kate Rolfe who spoke at the meeting calling on her fellow councillors to “be brave” and vote against this planning application.
She said this area in Manor Road was “the green lung” of Stratford and must be preserved. She described the proposed houses as “boring, modern homes”, completely out of character with the area while she also drew attention to the lack of parking, especially when clubs and parties were held at St Peter’s Mission. A situation which would only be exacerbated if the new homes went ahead.
Stratford Town Council also objected to the proposals amid grave concerns for the future of the trees on the site, as well as a loss of amenity space.
There were 67 letters of objection from the public.