Councillor Nicholls was in the
Chair for this item as Councillor Klute left the meeting and was
not involved in the consideration of this item.
Refurbishment of east side of Barnard Park involving replacement of existing sports pitch (8,990 square metres) with a new sports pitch (2,835sqm), the creation of a large ‘Village Green’ grass area (2,812sqm), and other works including planting and landscaping, construction of turfed areas and re-design of pathways.
(Planning application number: P2016/1109/FUL)
In the discussion the following points were
· The Planning Officer advised that a supplementary report was circulated prior to the meeting setting out further responses received since the drafting of the report. Additionally a verbal update was provided by the Planning Officer at the meeting advising that since the supplementary report, two (2) letters of support had been received and 4 letters of objection. Again, no new issues had been raised. In total, the Council had received 302 responses, 233 in support, 64 objections and 4 letters providing comments.
· Discussion around concerns regarding rubbish bins and if it was possible to address those concerns within the scheme – the applicant advised it was possible to address these concerns;
· It was queried by Members if the existing sport pitch was entirely free for access, with the response being that it is but only in daylight hours given there being no lighting for evening use;
· It was noted that the proposals would introduce a greater degree of flexibility for local people;
· It was queried how many hours of use of the proposed 7 aside pitch would be free access, to which it was responded that there would be, the detailed amount of free access to be secured as part of the Community Use Agreement via a Directors letter agreement (equivalent to a s106 agreement);
· Members queried the impacts on biodiversity by the proposals (the site being within a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) with the response being that biodiversity would be enhanced with greater planting and landscaping;
· Members again queried the actual loss of sport pitch and was it not a 70% reduction, to which it was replied that the loss was 36% due to the provision of the central area that could be used for informal and formal use including being bookable via the same booking system stated above
· Members queried the wording of policies relating to the protection of existing play spaces by resisting their loss unless there is an ‘exceptional’ circumstance – including where there are overriding planning merits.
· Members took the decision that there would be the following overriding planning merits/benefits from the redevelopment of the park:
· biodiversity enhancements;
· new pathways to improve accessibility and connectivity;
· additional open/ recreational spaces;
· improved quality of sport pitch (able to be used as a 7 aside or as 2 no. 5 aside pitches);
· improving the opportunities for informal recreation such as joggers; and
· would provide a more diverse and multi-functioning park than the current park layout enables.
In the context of the limited amount of green space within the borough and the growing population, Members considered these benefits to outweigh harm caused by the reduction in size of the playspace (DM6.3) / ‘free for use’ sports pitch facility (DM6.4) . In this regard, the proposal was found on balance to be acceptable and to provide high quality replacement sports pitch facilities albeit 36% reduced in size but to also cater for a wider range of informal recreation users and that the proposal accorded with the overarching strategic policies of the Core Strategy CS16 and CS17 and Islington’s Development Management Policies (2013)
That planning permission be granted subject to the conditions and informatives and Directors Service Level Agreement as set out in Appendix 2, and subject to referral to the Secretary of State and the signing of a service level agreement.