THE SAGA of the redevelopment of KES playing fields is back on the agenda as planning chiefs consider whether to green light plans for houses on the site.
The planning application, for six homes on King Edward VI School playing fields in Manor Road, Stratford has been submitted by the school’s headmaster Bennet Carr.
And 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.
Planning officers have recommended Stratford District Council’s (SDC) planning committee grant the application when it meets on Wednesday (October 26). A previous application for the houses was thrown out last year and an appeal was also refused by the planning inspectorate.
However, tweaks have been made to the planning application to address objections, which include 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.
A petition in support of the new houses has gained 1,546 signatures from members of the public who agree the concerns of the previous application have 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. While the school argue the strip of land earmarked for the homes is no good for sport.
But there are still major objections to a residential development on the playing fields from across the town and also from Sports England.
Ward member Coun Kate Rolfe remains a staunch objector.
She said: “I still maintain my objections to this application and still have serious concerns regarding insufficient parking and continue to have concerns regarding the design of the houses being out of character with the whole of Manor Road.
“The harm does outweigh the benefits particularly as there are plans to expand sports facilities nearby at the Sports Club, the Rugby Club and the football.”
Sports England has lodged its official objection to the proposal on the basis it will encroach onto a functional playing field.
Stratford Town Council continues to object on the grounds the “limited benefits do not outweight harm”.
Councillors were unconvinced the trees would be safeguarded during construction and agreed with Coun Rolfe there was insufficient parking, as well as a loss of amenity space.
And there are 67 letters of objection from the public, with issues raised including loss of green space, loss of playing field, harm to the character of Manor Road, impact on the setting of the Grade II listed pavilion and noise and light pollution.