Sport England have issued a formal objection to the Council’s latest plans for the Lincoln Court area. As a statutory consultee they can veto any proposals which involve the loss of sports facilities. In this case, the Councils plan to demolish the adjacent Multi User Games Area (MUGA) – without providing a replacement – has triggered the objection.
Sport England had expressed concerns about Councils plans prior to the Planning Committee meeting which took place in December. Their comments at that time were ignored by Councillors.
If the Council continues to turn a blind eye to the objection, then the planning application will have to be referred to the Secretary of State for determination.
Sport England make it clear, in their representation, that they believe an alternative games facility can be provided nearby. Residents have suggested the new school playing fields or the Thanet Road sports area as possible locations.
Several of the flats at Lincoln Court are now empty.
There is a growing concern that the building, and the adjacent Windsor House, may be empty for an extended period.
Similar Council owned buildings have been left to rot in recent years (Guildhall, Ashbank, Oakhaven, Castlegate, etc.) suggesting that the Councils property management processes need to be overhauled.
Despite objections from Sport England, Councillors approved the demolition of the Kingsway MUGA last night. No replacement all weather games area is planned
According to the Council’s own figures the Westfield area has the largest deficiency in sports and active leisure facilities in the City.
It also has the largest problem with child obesity
The committee failed to include the conditions requested by Sport England which would have seen an alternative games area provided elsewhere before the existing facility was demolished.
Council officials claimed that the MUGA was derelict and disused. In fact, only minor repairs – which have been outstanding for over 12 months – would be required to bring the facility back into use.
Additional conditions requested by LibDem Councillors were voted down.
Correspondence between the Council and Sport England – and verbal claims by an official last night – suggest that planning committee members were misled. This could lead to a formal complaint about the way the MUGA issue has been handled.
The Council has failed to include the most recent correspondence on the issue on the “planning on line” web site.
This is the second time that the Council has misled Sport England about planning issues.
Earlier in the year a report on the provision of new football pitches on Tadcaster Road claimed that they would be used by Woodthorpe Wanderers football club.
They were later forced to admit that Woodthorpe Wanderers had folded 6 months previously.
Correspondence has emerged which casts further doubt on the Council plans for the Kingsway Multi User Games Area (MUGA).
It appears that in October Sport England did clearly object to the removal of the facility.
It followed an extraordinary exchange of Emails in September in which the Council made several bogus claims about the area not having been used for “7 years”.
The Council goes on to say
“As part of the development outlined within this planning application the MUGA will not exist in its current form however there will be alternative provision of physical activity equipment at a suitable location within the Ward”.
No mention is made of the type and location of this “alternative provision” in the planning officers report to the committee on Thursday.
Residents will want to know more before any decisions are taken.
The planning committee have approved the plan to demolish 28 garages in Newbury Avenue. They will be replaced with 5 bungalows.
The committee declined to impose a condition requiring the developer to contribute towards the provision of alternative off street parking provision in the area.
Some of the garages have not been let for several years following a decision by the housing department to leave them empty. This has already exacerbated the parking situation in the Windsor Garth area.
The only hope for more parking provision now rests with the use of a small delegated ward committee budget. However this would provide only a handful of spaces (on lay-bys situated on Windsor Garth) and it could be the autumn before the work is started.
The Kingsway area has been poorly treated by the York Council in recent years. It has only just begun to get over the extended (nearly 3 years) build period for the Hob Stone development. Roads are still showing signs of the effects that heavy building wagons had. Damage to speed tables has been very pronounced.
Residents living in the area will be viewing with apprehension the possibility that the redevelopment of the Windsor House site could take place at the same time as the Newbury Avenue building works.
On the basis of yesterdays planning committee decision, they cannot look to that quarter for any support in addressing transport and planning problems in the area.