Sport complex green light

COUNCILLORS are expected to give the green light to plans for a major sporting complex on Green Belt land in Letchworth GC. North Herts District Council (NHDC) planning control committee will meet tonight (Thursday) to discuss plans by Letchworth Garden C

COUNCILLORS are expected to give the green light to plans for a major sporting complex on Green Belt land in Letchworth GC.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) planning control committee will meet tonight (Thursday) to discuss plans by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to turn agricultural land surrounding North Herts Leisure Centre in Baldock Road into sports facilities.

The Foundation wants to build five playing pitches, a spectator stand, flood lighting as well as a large parking area that will benefit Letchworth Rugby Club and Letchworth Garden City Eagles Football Club.

Councillors will read a report that shows both clubs are supporting the plans as well as Hertfordshire Highways with few objections including a 38-signature petition from people in Quinn Way and Schoolfields, who say they are worried about foul language, loudspeakers and air horns on match day, both from the Herts Football Association ground and the home of the Eagles.

Supporting the project, Sport England says in the report: "The rugby and football clubs have expanded their membership over recent years which has put pressure on their existing facilities.

"The scheme would address their growing needs and allow them to continue to develop. The rugby club in particular can benefit from improved provision for their under sevens and under eights teams and will allow pitch use to be rotated more often preventing over use.

Most Read

"The football club can also benefit by allowing for the growth of their senior and youth sections."

NHDC planning officer Simon Ellis concludes his report saying: "There is not a sufficiently robust case to refuse planning permission for the expansion of pitch sport facilities on this site in policy terms.

"In my view the Rugby Football Union and Sport England have demonstrated that the two clubs who presently occupy this site have a growing membership and therefore have a genuine need to expand.

"The proposed development is an appropriate development in the Green Belt in that it represents essential facilities for outdoor sport and recreation."

Heritage Foundation director Marilyn Hands said: "These proposals, to improve sporting playing and training facilities to the rear of North Herts Leisure Centre, are being 'worked up,' jointly by Letchworth Rugby Club, Letchworth Eagles FC and the Heritage Foundation.

"The agricultural land in question has not been used in recent times.

" The aim is to cater for the increased membership at the two clubs, by providing a high quality floodlit training area, three new full-size rugby pitches, two mini rugby pitches, two additional junior football pitches, extra car parking facilities and improved access via Legends Lane.

"The proposals are at a relatively early stage and the funding and costs details have still to be finalised, as is the possibility of grant assistance for the scheme by the Rugby Football Union and Sport England.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter