Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Council held on 17/02/2004
Development Control Committee : Report to Council - 17th February 2004
DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE
REPORT TO THE COUNCIL – 17TH FEBRUARY 2004
PLANNING APPLICATION WA03/0453 – REFERRED TO THE COUNCIL BY THE DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE
The following report is reproduced as submitted to the Development Control Committee from Western Area Development Control Sub-Committee:
Farnham Rugby Union Football Club and David Lloyd Leisure Ltd
Erection of a Tennis, Health and Fitness Club with outdoor tennis courts and swimming pools; erection of a rugby pavilion with pitches and training area; provision of floodlighting to parts of both areas; construction of a new vehicular access with car parking and associated works on land at Monkton Lane, Farnham (as amplified by letters and enclosures dated 30.5.03, 28.7.03, 15.10.03, 16.10.03, 17.10.03, 26.11.03 and 28.11.03)
E: 485670 N: 148260
Weybourne and Badshot Lea
Countryside (Policy C2) Farnham/Aldershot Strategic Gap (Policy C4)
Introduction AND SUMMARY
1.1 This report relates to the planning application submitted jointly by Farnham Rugby Club (FRUFC) and David Lloyd Leisure Ltd (DLL) for a development in Monkton Lane, Weybourne. It is a major proposal comprising the provision of a Health and Fitness Club (including indoor tennis and swimming pool), outdoor tennis courts and swimming pool, rugby pavilion, four rugby pitches and a training area, together with associated access, parking, landscaping and lighting.
1.2 The scale of the proposal is such that it was necessary for the application to be accompanied by a full Environmental Statement (ES), this provides the necessary supporting environmental information. The scale of the application is also such that the decision must be made by the Development Control Committee.
1.3 This is an extensive report reflecting both the scale of the proposal and, in particular, the significant amount of supporting material. In summary, however, whilst there would be no policy objection, in principle, to the relocation of the Rugby Club, the proposal as a whole is contrary to policy. The inclusion of the David Lloyd element with its substantial building, results in a conflict with policies for the countryside and the Strategic Gap. It also conflicts with policies concerning the location of development.
1.4 The planning legislation requires that the scheme be refused where there is a conflict with up to date policies unless material considerations indicate otherwise. In this particular case, there are a number of other issues that must be considered. These essentially relate to the need for the new facilities (indoor tennis and health and fitness) and the needs of the Rugby Club.
1.5 Members will note the Officers’ conclusions that permission should be refused. Members will need to reach their own conclusion as to whether these other “material considerations” outweigh the conflict with policy.
1.6 If the Council were to be minded to permit the scheme then it would be necessary to refer this to the Secretary of State (GOSE) under the Departure Procedures.
Description of Site
2.1 The site in question lies within an area of open countryside beyond the Green Belt. It extends to some 8.25 hectares (20.4 acres) and is roughly triangular in shape. It is located on the north-east side of Monkton Lane opposite the sewage works and the sports field used by Farnham Boys’ Football Club. It has a frontage to Monkton Lane (a single carriageway road which is served by a restricted bus service) of some 400 metres. A public footpath extends around the north-west boundary.
2.2 The site itself is generally flat and presently comprises open fields/pasture. It is largely adjoined by open land to the north and east, although in the north-east corner it adjoins the collection of former farm buildings at Century Farm. The roadside boundary and other site boundaries are defined by trees and hedging.
2.3 The site is within the area which, in the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002, is designated as Countryside and Farnham/Aldershot Strategic Gap subject to Policies C2 and C4. A plan identifying the location of the site is attached as
Previous Planning History
Change of use of land to golf driving range
Outline – erection of 16,000 square metres distribution centre
Outline – erection of 16,000 square metres distribution centre with community and recreation facilities
The application proposals
4.1 This is a full application which, as stated above, is accompanied by an Environmental Statement (ES). In cases where an application is accompanied by an ES there is also a requirement to submit a Non-Technical Summary of the relevant environmental information. A copy of the Non-Technical Summary accompanying this application is attached as
. Members will note that this describes the proposal, explains the need for the facilities and the consideration of possible alternative sites. It provides a summary of the applicants’ assessment of the scheme against planning policy and summarises other relevant environmental information under headings that include landscape/visual; highway; ecology/nature conservation; soils, geology and contamination; water and drainage; noise and vibration; and traffic/transportation.
4.2 Attached as
is a copy of the proposed layout. The proposal is a joint scheme on behalf of Farnham Rugby Club (FRUFC) and David Lloyd Leisure Ltd (DLL). It is proposed that FRUFC would relocate from its present site in Wrecclesham. The Club would be provided with four pitches and a training area. One of the pitches and the training area would be floodlit. A two-storey pavilion would be provided for the Rugby Club. This building would total some 933 square metres and would include four sets of changing rooms, nursery/play area, shop/reception and storage on the ground floor, with a clubroom, bar, dining area and kitchen above.
4.3 The maximum height of this building would be 8.3 metres. This building would be of modern design with a mono-pitched roof. It would incorporate a covered terrace at first floor level. A variety of materials would be used, including aluminium cladding, rendered blockwork, glazing and timber cladding. The plan showing the elevations of the rugby pavilion is attached as
4.4 The scheme would include 113 parking spaces for the Rugby Club together with coach parking. A detached equipment store would also be provided. In terms of lighting, it is proposed that the floodlit pitch would have 15 metre high columns and car park lighting for security purposes would comprise 4 metre columns. The facilities for the Rugby Club would occupy approximately the eastern two-thirds of the site.
4.5 DLL proposals incorporate indoor and outdoor leisure/recreation facilities. These would occupy the western end of the site. The indoor facilities would be contained within a single building totalling some 8,113 square metres, and providing facilities on two floors.
4.6 The roof of the building would have a curved profile with the maximum height extending to 15 metres. The ground floor would include a fitness hall, a 25 metre swimming pool, a children’s pool, two squash courts, hair and beauty salon, three studios and a clubroom/bar together with associated changing rooms, toilets, etc. The first floor would contain five tennis courts and a badminton hall/multi-use space.
4.7 External materials would include aluminium roof cladding, glazing, powder coated microrib cladding and brickwork. The plan showing the elevations of the DLL building is attached at
4.8 The outdoor facilities would comprise six tennis courts and a 20 metre long swimming pool. 250 car parking spaces would be provided for DLL. The outdoor tennis courts would have 12 metre high lighting columns and the lighting to the car park would again be provided by 4 metre high columns.
4.9 A single point of access would be provided in Monkton Lane. The associated highway works would include the localised widening of Monkton Lane to provide for a dedicated right-turn land at the entrance. A cycleway/footpath would extend north west along Monkton Lane. The public footpath extending around the west and north sides would be upgraded and a new footpath provided along the eastern boundary.
4.10 The Environmental Statement includes a section relating to the Community Access Package (CAP) operated by DLL. It states that this varies from club to club but generally provides day time access to indoor courts for schools, or other organised community groups; visits by tennis coaches out into the community; and scholarships for promising young players.
4.11 The applicants state that the CAP for any club is usually negotiated with the appropriate District Council. In terms of planning, if permission is forthcoming then this particular issue could be dealt with by way of a legal agreement.
4.12 In this particular case, the applicants indicate that discussions have taken place with officers of the Leisure Department. The applicants have indicated that as a basis for a CAP, there would be:-
a) 1000 hours of court time per annum, to be taken between 2.00 p.m and 5.00 p.m for nearby schools, including 100 hours of DLL tennis coaching;
b) 100 hours of DLL tennis coaching per annum off-site at nearby schools; and
c) 200 hours of court time per annum for local disabled groups.
4.13 The submission also provides details of the Junior Tennis Programme operated by DLL.
Submissions in support
5.1 Having regard to the nature of the proposals, a considerable amount of supporting information has been submitted. Much of this is summarised in the applicants’ Non-Technical Summary of the ES (see Annexe 2). However, during the consideration of the application, additional information has been submitted, particularly in relation to need; the availability of alternative sites; and highways/transportation issues. Given the issues involved, the information of particular relevance is that concerning the need for the facilities; the consideration of alternative sites; the assessment of environmental impact; the environmental mitigation measures proposed; and the measures to deal with highways/transportation.
5.2 One of the documents that has recently been added to the submission is a report by the consultants PMP concerning the need for rugby, tennis and health and fitness in Farnham.
Need in Relation to Rugby
5.3 In assessing the need in terms of rugby, PMP have referred to the “National Facilities Strategy for Rugby Union in England”. This sets model venues for clubs that fall within four levels. FRUFC requires a Model Venue Two facility. PMP identify the minimum provision required for this type of facility. This includes:-
Three full size pitches (one being floodlit); two training areas (one floodlit); male/female/officials changing facilities commensurate with the number of pitches.
5.4 PMP have also identified what it considers to be the deficiencies of the present FRUFC facilities in Wrecclesham. These include:-
1. changing rooms too small;
2. too few pitches;
3. poor quality of pitches in terms of playing surface, slope end poor drainage;
4. inadequate access and parking.
5.5 PMP have also referred to the Council’s own assessment of supply and demand for playing pitches. It states that the Council has recently carried out its Playing Field Strategy (PPS). It states that in terms of rugby the Farnham area has a shortfall of 1.8 adult pitches and 5 junior pitches. By 2013 this shortfall is likely to be 2.3 and 5 pitches respectively.
Need for Tennis Facilities
5.6 The PMP report in relation to tennis needs is based on a catchment area defined by the 30-minute off-peak drive time from the site. It adds that 30 minutes is the drive-time used by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) for indoor tennis.
5.7 The report considers national trends in terms of participation in tennis. It states that up to 5 million people play tennis every year. It adds that tennis is a very popular sport for young people. It indicates that in relation to indoor tennis facilities, the UK falls well behind provision elsewhere in Europe. It is stated that in the UK there is
one tennis court per 63,000 population
. The equivalent figures for other countries are:-
Sweden 1 per 6,000
Netherlands 1 per 7,000
France 1 per 14,000
Italy 1 per 20,000
Germany 1 per 21,000
5.8 PMP refers to the LTA document “Priority Project Funding, Policy and Operational Procedures”, which states that 5% of the population play tennis with 2% playing regularly. The LTA document identifies a need for one indoor court to serve 200 regular players. In 2002 there were 1611 indoor courts in the UK compared to a “need” for 5,710.
5.9 Having identified the existing situation in terms of the supply and demand for indoor tennis, PMP move on to consider the need for the DLL Club. It identifies the particular features and characteristics of a DLL Club. It also identifies the indoor tennis as being the “primary purpose”, given that this is what sets a DLL Club apart from most health and fitness operations.
5.10 PMP refer to the Council’s own leisure and cultural strategies and the support these identify for indoor tennis to serve Waverley residents. The report also identifies the costs associated with the provision of indoor tennis. It explains why it considers that indoor tennis alone does not provide a sufficient return on capital investment. PMP explain, therefore, that it is necessary to have other supporting income such as that from health and fitness or beauty treatments. It also explains the benefits, for example, in terms of economies of scale in construction, that result from having all facilities on one site.
5.11 With regard to the catchment area, PMP identify that within the 30-minute drive-time there will be a population of 904,143 by 2005. It identifies that within that catchment there are presently 40 indoor courts (these range from the one already in Farnham at the Bourne Club, and the courts in Aldershot; to facilities at Bracknell Esporta, where there are 12 courts and DLL in Woking where there are 8 courts). Given the projected population in the catchment area, and the proportion of these that would be regular players, PMP conclude that there is a “need” within this area a total of 96 indoor courts, (including existing provision).
Need for Health and Fitness Facilities
5.12 PMP have firstly considered national trends in terms of health and fitness. They refer to “Game Plan”, which is a national strategy for delivering the Government’s sports and physical activity objectives. This recognises the growth in private health and fitness clubs. It also has a headline target that 70% of the UK population should be reasonably active by 2020 (the present level is 30%).
5.13 The “Leisure Database Company “State of the Industry” Report 2003” refers to the steady growth of the health and fitness industry. It states that the percentage rates in the UK (i.e. the percentage of people who use leisure clubs), has increased from 8.9% in 2001 to 9.9% in 2002.
5.14 PMP have compared tennis and health clubs like DLL with city-centre gyms. It identified the characteristics of a city centre gym and how these differ from a DLL Club. It considers that these different types of facility are aimed at specific segments of the leisure market. PMP do not consider, therefore, that a DLL facility precludes provision of small specialist health and fitness clubs as part of a mixed use town centre development.
5.15 PMP have also compared a DLL facility with a public leisure centre. Again, they identify the different characteristics of these two types of facility. For example, they state that indoor tennis is rarely provided at a public leisure centre. They state that pay-and-play access is the norm at public facilities and that public leisure centres have low subsidised prices to ensure wide community access. They state that DLL customers are different from public leisure centre customers. They add that DLL facilities have a track record of attracting new participants to its facilities – people who may not have previously used a public leisure centre.
5.16 In terms of future demand for health and fitness, PMP refer to the leisure Database Company’s forecasts of at least four more years continuous growth. They identify a range of factors that will contribute to this future growth:-
1. Supply leading demand – i.e. people motivated to join for the first time when a club is opened;
2. Specific marketing to attract new participants (i.e. families, or initiatives for the over-60s or under-18s);
3. Campaigns by local authorities to promote health and fitness; and
4. National targets to increase participation in active sports.
The Sequential Test and Alternative Sites
5.17 The applicants have undertaken an analysis of possible alternative sites. This follows a sequential approach to site selection (i.e. town centre edge of centre other urban areas edge-of-town out of town). In carrying out this analysis the applicants indicate a minimum requirement of 1.4 hectares for DLL and 4 hectares for FRUFC.
5.18 The applicants argue that Government Policy in terms of the “Sequential Test” needs to be applied with some care. They acknowledge that although it is hypothetically possible to look at the DLL and FRUFC proposals separately, the whole point of the proposal is that they are development partners. They state that if DLL cannot locate alongside FRUFC they will not be able to cross-subsidise them by purchasing their site.
5.19 The applicants’ sequential test analysis is based on a catchment defined by 15 minutes drive-time from the site. This has been further enlarged in one area to take in the whole of Guildford. Within this area the applicants have, therefore, considered the availability of sites in Waverley, Rushmoor BC, Guildford BC, Hart DC and East Hants DC.
5.20 Various sites were considered in and around Farnham, such as East Street, Riverside, Land in Weydon Lane, the Network Rail land in Wrecclesham and Coxbridge. However, the applicants discounted these for various reasons. They also refer to land on the other side of Monkton Lane (to the north or south of the sewage works). These were discounted by the applicants in view of the effect of odours from the sewage works. The applicants also express the view that these last two sites are not sequentially preferable to the application site.
5.21 The applicants have also approached representatives from adjoining authorities with a view to identifying any suitable sites within the 15-minute drive-time.
5.22 No sites were identified in East Hants. The applicants have considered specific sites within Hart, Rushmoor and Guildford BC. The report explains why the applicants do not consider these to be suitable.
5.23 They conclude this part of their submission by stating that no suitable sites have been identified. They add that since the Rugby Club cannot locate outside Farnham, the extended exercise was of no real relevance to them.
5.24 The applicants’ submissions also contain a detailed analysis of the existing landscape character, the likely impact of the development and proposed measures to mitigate impact. They point out that the site is not within the Green Belt, AONB or AGLV. They consider its appearance to be degraded by lack of management and exacerbated by the poor quality of adjacent stables and pony fields. They consider the setting to be heavily influenced by surrounding commercial and residential built-up areas and the sewage treatment works. They also consider that other features such as pylons further detract from the quality of the landscape.
5.25 The applicants have considered the extent to which the site is visible from near and distant locations. They consider that the extent of the zone of visual influence of the site is limited by a combination of landform, vegetation and built-up areas. They acknowledge that within the immediate vicinity views will be significantly different to what exists, however, they consider the design of the buildings and the associated landscape will be of a quality such that residual adverse effects will be minor. It should be noted that the proposals include an extensive landscape strategy for the planting of trees and hedges both within and around the site.
5.26 In terms of traffic/transportation, the ES includes a Transport Assessment. It is stated that the site is well located in terms of existing bus routes. Measures to offset the traffic increase include:-
1. Travel Plan to encourage staff to arrive by methods other than car.
2. Emphasis on benefits of sustainable travel to members of both DLL and FRUFC.
3. Street lighting to encourage trips by foot.
4. Extension to existing cycle path in Weybourne Road and provision of shared use cycle/footway along Monkton Lane.
5. Provision of secure cycle parking at both clubs.
6. Improvements to Weybourne Road/Monkton Lane junction.
Additional Submissions by Applicant Prior to The Western Area Development Control Sub-Committee
5.27 The applicant’s agent made some specific comments on the officers’ report. Firstly he drew attention to the view in the report from Surrey County Council indicating that the scheme would have minimal impact on the Strategic Gap (these comments are contained in the report from Surrey County Council, which is attached as Annexe 6).
5.28 Secondly he has referred to advice in the draft PPS6 relating to the sequential test and whether developers should be required to dismember their schemes into constituent parts. He also referred to advice that planning should not resist competition or preserve existing commercial interests.
5.29 Finally, he comments that he is not aware of any advice to suggest that the Sequential Test should take into account unknown sites that may come forward.
6.1 As part of the consideration of the scheme it has been necessary to carry out a number of consultations, these have included internal consultations with the Leisure Manager in relation to relevant issues, such as identified leisure needs. The following is a summary of responses received:-
WBC Leisure Manager
6.2 The Leisure Manager was asked to comment on the scheme, particularly in relation to leisure needs that have been identified by the Council.
6.3 With regard to the need for indoor tennis, the Leisure Manager has stated that both the current Cultural Strategy and the previous Leisure Strategy have identified the need for indoor tennis facilities to serve Waverley residents. She states that to provide effective tennis development opportunities, it is essential that indoor facilities are made available. She adds that the Surrey Tennis Development Officer supports this view. She also refers to the opportunity for local outdoor clubs to feed into the leagues set up by the DLL facility. She also points that it is unlikely that the Council would be in a position to deliver indoor tennis given the costs and other priorities.
6.4 She deals with the issue of social inclusion, referring to the Community Access Programme (CAP). She identifies the scope for schools to use facilities with qualified coaches. There is also reference to DLL coaches undertaking outreach work to encourage participation by young people.
6.5 She states that if the DLL facility is built the Council’s Sports Development Officer would use the facility to assist in developing and promoting the Active Sports Programme.
6.6 With regard to the Rugby Club, the Leisure Manager has referred to discussions between the Club and the Council over a period of time to look for alternative sites. She states that there are no Waverley owned sites suitable for rugby. She states, therefore, that in order for the club to move it needs to find a commercial partner, as there are currently no sources of funding.
6.7 She has identified the deficiencies of the present facilities and the identified shortfall of both junior and adult pitches in Farnham.
6.8 She states that without relocating the club, it will not be able to extend its development opportunities (she states that the Club is presently forced to limit membership). She also states that it is not able to progress further up the league. She considers that additional capacity would allow the Club to develop stronger school links and to cater for girls’ and women’s rugby.
6.9 With regard to health and fitness, she refers to the national objectives of increasing participation. She considers that the target of 70% participation can only be met if additional providers come into the market. She adds that increased participation, by actively promoting the benefits of leisure is a priority in the Council’s Cultural Strategy. She does not consider that a DLL facility would directly impact on the Farnham Leisure Centre and agrees with the view on this issue expressed in the PMP report.
6.10 She also refers to the DLL centres being family orientated and supports this form a leisure perspective on the basis that it encourages participation in health and fitness from an early age.
6.11 Finally, she comments on the issue of financial viability. She agrees with the PMP report stating that without the income from health and fitness, no indoor tennis facility could operate without a subsidy.
Surrey County Council (Strategic Planning Consultation)
6.12 Copies of the two responses from the County Council on strategic planning issues are attached as
. In the first response the County concludes that the proposals do not satisfactorily comply with the sequential test designed to secure more sustainable development. Nor does it consider that it has been demonstrated that the scheme is or can be made more easily accessible by public transport and non-car modes. Objection is raised under Draft Replacement Structure Plan Policies LO1 and LO2 and guidance under PPG 13. The proposals are also considered to be contrary to Policy DN14 concerning the proper location of recreational facilities.
6.13 The second report from the County Council follows receipt of the PMP report and the further submissions in respect of alternative sites. The County has maintained its concern that the submission has failed to indicate that there are no more sequentially suitable sites for DLL. It adds that, to conform with policy, it should be located in a more central and accessible location related to the urban area.
6.14 The County comments further on the conclusion that no sequentially preferable sites can be found. It states that this is more a reference to availability of land at the present time, rather than an assessment of previously developed land in the urban area with the potential to be released under the sequential test. It considers that the applicants’ study shows that there is potential to accommodate the proposals elsewhere related to the larger urban areas. For example by way of Project Connaught in Aldershot. The County adds that under the emerging proposals for Local Development Frameworks (LDFS), there should be a much more pro-active approach to the allocation of land for major leisure facilities.
6.15 It concludes that notwithstanding the local advantages for FRUFC, the preferred location for the DLL Tennis Centre should be on a more sequentially acceptable site. It considers that demand suggests that a site should be sought in a location related to a nearby major centre such as Guildford, Aldershot or Farnborough.
Surrey CC (Highways)
6.16 The formal response from the County Council, as Highway Authority, also contains a recommendation that permission should be refused. This is on the basis that the development would be heavily reliant on travel by car and would not accord with Central Government and local policy guidance in relation to the location of development.
6.17 Whilst the Highway Authority has maintained this “in principle” objection, it has also considered what conditions or other requirements it would expect to be imposed were the Council minded to grant permission. These would include a legal agreement in respect of:-
(a) site access, junction arrangement and shared cycle/footway in Monkton Lane;
(b) junction improvement at Monkton Lane/Weybourne Road;
(c) provision of an off-carriageway cycleway adjacent to southbound carriageway of Weybourne Road and provision of cycle route along Upper Weybourne Lane;
(d) provision of two bus shelters on Weybourne Road; and
(e) Staff Travel Plan.
6.18 The Highway Authority has made it clear that these recommendations are without prejudice to the main recommendations to refuse. It adds that the measures do not overcome its objection.
Surrey CC (Rights of Way Officer)
6.19 Objection to the application in its current form as it appears to affect the route of the Public Footpath shown in the Definitive Map. Would withdraw this objection if applicants were to apply for and obtain a confirmed Diversion Order.
Rushmoor Borough Council
6.20 Objection on grounds that proposal involves a scale of built development, car parking provision and intensity of activity that would substantially reduce the amount of open land in the Strategic Gap and seriously weaken its ability to help retain the separation between the built-up areas of Aldershot and Farnham.
6.21 Rushmoor Borough Council has also commented specifically in relation to the issue of whether any alternative sites are available in Rushmoor. It considers the information supplied by the applicants in relation to four specific sites in Rushmoor is correct. With regard to Project Connaught, there is to be an “Enquiry by Design” exercise to help produce a Masterplan for the land. The officer responding acknowledges that there may be recreational land of the quantity required for a scheme of the size of a David Lloyd Club. However, he has also expressed the opinion that the “... priority will be for local need, rather than the much wider region attracted to such a David Lloyd centre”.
Guildford Borough Council
6.22 No objection, but requests that floodlighting is carefully controlled to ensure that light pollution is minimised.
6.23 Recommends conditions and informatives.
6.24 Recommends that prior to any works taking place, surveys for protected species be carried out.
6.25 No comments on the proposals.
Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP)
6.26 The BVCP refer to the Blackwater Valley Strategy 2003-2005. This promotes informal outdoor recreation as a major use but acknowledges the role of the area in providing some areas of formal outdoor recreation. Policy 42 suggests proposals for formal playing fields can be acceptable as long as a number of criteria are met (i.e. need, no alternative sites, no damage to landscape). Object to this proposal on grounds of:-
1. Scale of development and detrimental impact on Strategic Gap;
2. Impact of parking, amenity grassland and lighting;
3. Existence of alternative fitness clubs in the area;
4. Inadequate landscaping proposals.
Surrey CC (Archaeology)
6.27 Given the size of the site it is necessary to consider its archaeological potential. A report on archaeology is contained in the Environmental Statement. Officers are awaiting the comments of the County Archaeologist on this.
TOWN COUNCIL COMMENTS
7.1 The Town Council has commented as follows:-
“Farnham Town Council supports the proposed facilities for a rugby club including a clubhouse and would encourage the relocation of the Farnham Rugby Club to this venue. Farnham Town Council would wish to see inclusion of a pitch for the Farnham Boys’ Football Club incorporated into the same site. However, Farnham Town Council strongly objects to the scale and siting of the proposed David Lloyd tennis centre in that it would have a damaging effect upon the Strategic Gap between Farnham and Aldershot. Farnham Town Council believes that the applicants should investigate the siting of the proposed tennis centre on the south side of Monkton Lane adjacent to the sewage treatment works since this land does not lie within the Strategic Gap between Farnham and Aldershot”.
Comments on Original Submission
8.1 A number of representations have been received from local residents and others with an interest in the proposals.
8.2 A petition has been received with 44 signatures opposed to the application.
8.3 Letters have been received from 16 local residents objecting principally on the following grounds:-
1. Impact on Strategic Gap.
2. Amount of building out of keeping.
3. Contrary to policy.
4. Traffic problems – adverse impact on local road system.
5. Light pollution.
6. Height of building.
7. Previous refusals for development.
8. Reference to existing health and fitness facility nearby and all-weather pitch.
9. Loss of privacy.
10. Impact on visual amenity.
11. Have all alternatives been considered?
8.4 An objection has been received from the
Weybourne Community Association
which manages the nearby village hall. The grounds of objection are impact on the Strategic Gap, traffic and questioning the demand.
8.5 Objections/concerns have been received from or on behalf of two local sports/fitness clubs. One is from the
, which has questioned the justification for the development and states that it is their understanding that no local health clubs have closed their membership. Suggest Council needs to understand more fully the justification for the facility before giving permission.
8.6 The other is on behalf of
Cannons Health and Fitness Ltd
. The agents acting for Cannons argue that the development is contrary to policy. They have also questioned the applicants’ analysis of need both in relation to health and fitness and indoor tennis. They have also questioned the applicants’ approach in terms of the sequential test and site selection. Finally, they have raised a number of comments/concerns about the highways and transport assessment.
8.7 A letter of objection has also been received from the
. Issues raised are scale of development and impact on the Strategic Gap; landscaping inadequate to retain rural character; conflict with policy; and existence of other health and fitness facilities locally.
8.8 A letter has been received from the
. It considers that the site is in open countryside, away from existing settlements. It refers to the Inspectors comments on this issue in relation to the Poacher’s Barn appeal.
8.9 It assesses the scheme against policies for the countryside and Strategic Gap. It opposes the David Lloyd Leisure element referring to scale, massing, design and character of the building. With regard to the Rugby Club element, it considers that this can be regarded as acceptable, subject to the scale, massing and character of the building being limited and subject to controls on the floodlighting.
8.10 The Society also comments on a number of issues contained in the submitted reports. Its conclusion is that it does not object to the relocation of the Rugby Club (subject to provisos), but considering the application as a whole it does object.
8.11 Some 78 letters have been received expressing support for the proposals from residents and businesses in Farnham and further afield. Many of the letters are from people connected with FRUFC. Issues covered include:-
1. Need for new and improved facilities locally;
2. Absence of alternative sites;
3. Lack of alternative funding;
4. Job creation;
5. Value of FRUFC to the local community;
6. Inadequacy of existing facilities;
7. Provision of facilities for the young;
8. Poor visual quality of the proposed site;
8.12 Petitions have also been received, one with 1506 signatures and one with 53 signatures, supporting the proposal.
8.13 A letter of support has also been received from the
Farnham and District Sports Advisory Council
. It considers that the Rugby Club has outgrown its existing inadequate facilities in Wrecclesham. It refers to the need for improved facilities and the Club’s outstanding youth and coaching policy. It also refers to the lack of indoor tennis facilities in Farnham.
Surrey County Rugby Football Union Ltd
has also written in support. It considers that the proposal will provide a significant additional community facility for sport and recreation purposes. It identifies the importance of the Rugby Club and the benefit of the additional facilities proposed by David Lloyd Leisure.
Further Representations Following Receipt of Additional Information
8.15 The agents acting for Cannons Health Club have also commented on the additional information relating to need/alternative sites and maintained their objections. They do not consider that the report from PMP demonstrates a need. They consider that the report seeks to justify the need for tennis and rugby, but fails to demonstrate need for a health and fitness club facility. They also consider that the applicants’ approach in terms of sequential test is flawed in relating only to sites of at least 1.4 hectares. Consider this to be an incorrect approach – out of centre development should be disaggregated as recommended in PPG6. Therefore applicants should also consider availability of site for the health and fitness element. Report does not address availability of alternative sites for health and fitness. Also comment on inconsistency of submission with a 15-minute drive-time used to assess alternative sites and a 30-minute drive-time used to assess need for indoor tennis. The agent acting for Cannons has also raised concern that they have not been able to see all the relevant information relating to traffic/transport issues. This is being investigated further by the officers.
8.16 One letter from local resident. Delighted by success of England Rugby Team but hopes that this will not affect deliberations concerning the application.
8.17 A letter has been received from
supporting the scheme. It refers to the benefits of indoor courts in terms of all-year use. It also refers to DLL centres providing a stable base for coach employment and a place for competitive opportunities and performance training to take place.
8.18 One further letter of support from a local business.
9.1 Given the range of issues covered by the proposals, there are a number of planning policies that are relevant:-
Surrey Structure Plan 1994 – Policies EN1, EN2, EN3, EN4, PE3, PE5, PE13, MT2, MT17, DP22 and RU6.
Surrey Structure Replacement Plan (Deposit Draft) 2002 – Policies LO1, LO2, LO5, SE3, SE5, DN1, DN2 and DN14.
Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 – Policies D1, D4, D13, D14, C2, C4, HE15, TC1, LT7, LT8, M2, M4, M5, M10 and M14.
9.2 The site is within the area designated as Countryside beyond the Green Belt in the Local Plan. The relevant Policy in the Local Plan is Policy C2. This policy is consistent with current Government advice in PPG7 and with the recently published draft Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS7): Sustained Development in Rural Areas. It is also consistent with adopted Surrey Structure Plan and the Deposit Draft Replacement Structure Plan. National, Strategic and local policies seek to protect the countryside and indicates that building in open countryside away from existing settlements will be strictly controlled. The accompanying text in the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 indicates the type of developments that can be acceptable in the countryside. These include outdoor sport and recreation in accordance with Policy LT7. In all cases development must be appropriate on scale, height, etc, and should not adversely affect, inter alia, the landscape.
9.3 Policy LT7 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 deals with Leisure and Tourism development in the countryside. It indicates that development will only be permitted if it meets a number of criteria. One of these indicates that the nature, scale, design and character of the development should be suited to the proposed location. The accompanying text states that new built development in the countryside will only be acceptable where it is small in scale and is incidental to existing outdoor recreation activities. Policy LT8 sets out the criteria against which proposals for sports grounds and playing fields are assessed.
9.4 Policy C4 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 deals with the Farnham/Aldershot Strategic Gap. The policy promotes the enhancement of the landscape and improved footpaths/bridleways for informed recreation. It seeks to protect the area by resisting inappropriate development in accordance with Policy C2.
9.5 Local Plan Policy TC1 deals with town centre uses. The aim is to maintain and enhance the role of town centre. To this end, one requirement is to apply a sequential test in considering proposals for development involving town centre uses. These are defined as including assembly and leisure uses within Class D2. The Policy indicates that sites outside the town centre or local centres will only be considered for such uses where it can be demonstrated that no suitable sites exist within or on the edge of the town centre or in local centres.
9.6 Policies LO1 and LO2 of the Deposit Draft Structure Plan 2002 have a similar theme in terms of sustainability. Policy LO1 promotes new development within existing urban areas, though the re-use of previously developed land. It states that major development in the countryside will be inappropriate. Policy LO2 states that development that could attract a high level of car-borne trips will only be acceptable in a location that is, or could be made, accessible by public transport.
9.7 The policies identified above also include a range of policies dealing with transportation issues. The broad aims are to ensure that development is only allowed where it is or can be made compatible with the local transport infrastructure, and that proper provision is made for access by all modes of transport, particularly non-car modes.
9.8 There are various national policy documents that are relevant to this proposal. Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 17 relates to “Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation”. Paragraph 20 identifies a range of issues to be considered when locating new areas of open spaces, sport and recreational facilities. These include:-
“… locate more intensive recreational uses in sites where they can contribute to town centre vitality and viability …”
9.9 Two of the main objectives of PPG13 “Transport” are to promote accessibility to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public transport, walking and cycling; and to reduce the need to travel, especially by car. One of the means of delivery identified in the PPG is to ensure that development comprising jobs, shopping, leisure services, offers a realistic choice of access by public transport, walking and cycling.
9.10 PPG6 “Town Centres and Retail Developments” also emphasises the need to focus development in existing centres where access by a choice of means of transport is easy and convenient. It identifies the need to take a sequential approach to site selection. It states that this should be applied not only to retail development but also other town centre uses that attract a lot of people. It includes leisure as one of these uses.
MAIN ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION
10.1 Section 54A of the 1990 Planning Act makes it clear that proposals should be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicates otherwise. In this particular case there are a number of development plan policies that are relevant. There are also other material considerations, principally related to need and the sequential test, that must be considered. Having regard to this, officers have dealt with the issues under the following main headings:-
1. Assessment against relevant development plan policies;
2. Other material considerations relating to the need for leisure facilities;
3. The sequential test and availability of alternative sites;
4. Highways and Transport issues.
10.2 This is a joint proposal by DLL and FRUFC, and is, therefore, considered as a whole. However, officers would point out that, in principle, there would be no objection to the relocation of FRUFC to this site. This is an outdoor recreational activity where built development that is ancillary to the outdoor use can be acceptable. In fact, given the deficiencies of the site presently used by the Rugby Club, officers would support the principle of the Club relocating to a better site. However, this overall scheme includes the significant built development proposed by DLL. This is the focus of the Officers’ concerns.
Assessment Against Relevant Development Plan Policies
10.3 The key site-specific policies in the Local Plan relating to the Countryside and the Strategic Gap are identified above, (Policies C2 and C4). In terms of leisure development in the Countryside the Policy C2 is amplified by Policy LT7.
10.4 It is clear from these policies that development in the open countryside, away from existing settlements, should be strictly controlled. In terms of leisure development, the proposals should be appropriate in scale and incidental to an outdoor use.
10.5 It is accepted that the Rugby Club would expect to be in a rural or urban fringe location, as it is at present. Small scale facilities, for the Rugby Club, which would be ancillary to such an outdoor use, would comply, in principle, with Policies C2 and LT7.
10.6 In terms of the DLL element of the scheme, a very substantial amount of built recreational development is proposed, which is clearly not incidental to an outdoor use. There is, therefore, a clear conflict with countryside and leisure policies resulting from the DLL element of the proposals.
10.7 This area is characterised by a flat and relatively open landscape, interspersed with hedgerow field boundaries. Strategically, the site plays an important role in maintaining the separation between Farnham, Weybourne and Badshot Lea.
10.8 The proposed development would, in the officers’ view, have a significant and detrimental urbanising effect on the site and its surroundings. This impact would result not only from the buildings, one of which would be 15 metres’ high, but also from the related developments (car parking, access, outdoor courts, etc). The floodlighting and car park lighting would have an additional urbanising impact, particularly at night.
10.9 Notwithstanding that extensive landscaping is proposed to mitigate impact, Officers are of the view that these works would have only a limited effect. In the Officers’ view the scale of the buildings proposed, the extent of the car parking areas, the associated highway/access works and the intensity of activity would substantially impinge on the Strategic Gap and seriously weaken its ability to retain the separation between Farnham and Aldershot; and Weybourne and Badshot Lea.
10.10 As stated above, both Local and Structure Plan Policies also advocate development in central and accessible locations. There is a presumption against locating developments containing town centre uses, or uses generating significant car-borne trips, in out-of-centre or inaccessible locations. Unless the applicant can demonstrate both a clear need for the facilities and that there are no sequentially preferable sites available, then this is another basis for objection.
10.11 The Local Plan also contains environmental policies that deal less with the principle and more with the detail. These policies (D1 and D4) are applicable to most development proposals. They are criteria based and identify key environmental design and amenity considerations. In the officers’ view, for the reasons set out above, this scheme does not accord with these policies either.
10.12 Officers have also considered the potential impact on residential amenity. Some representations against the scheme have been from residents living quite close to the site. The closest residential property is, in fact, the mobile home at Monkton Farm. The occupant of this would be affected, to some extent, by lighting and noise/disturbance associated with the outdoor tennis courts and outdoor pool that are both close to the mutual boundary. Members are reminded, however, that the mobile home is unauthorised. Officers have previously taken action to secure its removal and, following recent appeal decisions, officers are again considering possible enforcement action. This limits the weight that can be given to the impact on that property.
10.13 Other dwellings are not so directly affected. There would be a general impact in terms of the additional traffic, floodlighting and the change in the use and appearance of the site. However, it is not considered that these factors would have such a direct impact on residential amenity to justify a refusal on these grounds.
Other Material Considerations – The Need for Leisure Facilities
10.14 As explained above, the proposed development does not, in the officers’ view, comply with relevant development plan policies. Having regard to the provisions of Section 54A, the correct course of action, therefore, is to refuse permission
material considerations indicate otherwise.
10.15 In this particular case, the meeting of identified leisure needs and/or the provision of improved facilities for an existing leisure operator are material considerations. The key test, however, is whether these are of such significance that they outweigh the conflict with policy.
10.16 A number of matters have been put forward in the submissions to support the proposal. The applicants have identified what they see as the inadequacies of the present facilities for FRUC and explained how the new facilities would meet RFU standards. They have explained the need for leisure facilities, considering both needs for tennis and needs for health and fitness.
10.17 Whilst the needs for rugby, tennis and health and fitness are addressed separately, the applicants have also explained the links between the FRUFC proposals and the DLL proposals and why they are put forward as a single package. They have also explained the characteristics of a DLL Club and why it is not appropriate, in their view, to disaggregate the tennis from the health and fitness when considering the need for a DLL facility.
10.18 As a result, officers have identified some questions that may assist Members address when considering the overall issue of “need”.
How Much Weight Should be Given to the Need in Relation to FRUFC?
10.19 Officers acknowledge that the facilities at Wrecclesham have serious limitations, as identified in the submissions. In order to meet RFU guidelines there are a number of elements that should be improved. The development of a DLL Centre in this case provides the means for the Rugby Club to relocate to much improved facilities.
10.20 This is a material consideration that must be taken into account. However, these “benefits” must be weighed against any harm arising from the development as a whole. Whilst the relocation of the Rugby Club is acceptable, in principle, the DLL proposal is not. The proposal would provide for the relocation of the Rugby Club at no cost. The application documents contain little information regarding any alternative options it has considered in terms of relocation/improved facilities. However, it is understood that the Club has been looking for an alternative site for a number of years, in discussion with officers in the Leisure Department. These discussions have not produced any realistic alternatives.
10.21 Members will need to consider carefully what weight can be given to the argument that this is an overall package. This proposal would allow for the relocation of the Rugby Club, but officers advise caution in considering this issue. Attaching significant weight to the importance of the DLL “enabling” element pre-supposes that the
way of the FRUFC improving its facilities is through this development.
Is there an Identified Need for Indoor Tennis?
10.22 The report from PMP considers the need, based on catchment of 30-minute drive-time. Based on this and having regard to the LTA view that one indoor court is needed per 200 regular players, the applicants identify an overall need for 96 indoor courts against a provision of 40 courts. Based simply on the analysis there is a significant shortfall from the level of provision that the LTA considers is required. A development here or elsewhere in the catchment would clearly contribute to meeting this demand.
10.23 Whilst officers accept this identified need, it should be put in the context of a national shortfall. In the PMP report, the applicants indicate that provision generally in the UK is 1 indoor court per 63,000 population. Within the catchment area identified in this case, there are already 40 courts serving an estimated population in 2005 of 904,143. This equates to 1 court per 22,604. Whilst this is below the ideal level of provision, it is significantly more than the national level of provision.
Is There an Identified Need for Health and Fitness?
10.24 In terms of health and fitness, the PMP report focuses more on the market trends and the distinctive characteristics of the DLL Clubs rather than seeking to quantify existing supply and demand. In essence, it is argued that health and fitness is a growth industry and this trend will continue, supported by national and local initiatives to promote healthy living. It is also argued that the provision of a new facility often encourages people to join a club for the first time (i.e. supply leading demand). The applicants have also sought to distinguish a DLL Centre from both what they call “city centre” gyms and public sports centres.
10.25 Officers acknowledge evidence that participation in health and fitness has grown and is likely to continue to grow. This in turn is likely to result in increased provision of such facilities. However, it is easier to accommodate stand-alone health and fitness clubs in urban areas and, in fact, such facilities are already being promoted at East Street and in other town centre schemes such as in Rushmoor.
How Much Weight Should Be Given To The Argument That This Is A Package Proposal ?
10.26 Officers have given very careful consideration to this issue. It has a bearing both on the amount of weight that should be afforded to the argument of need and is also relevant when considering the issue of alternative sites and the sequential approach to site selection.
10.27 The proposals comprise three core leisure elements:-
1) the Rugby Club
2) the provision of indoor tennis
3) the provision of health and fitness.
10.28 Officers accept that there is a need for improved facilities for the Rugby Club. Officers accept that there is an identified need for indoor tennis provision. Officers also accept that the trends indicate a continuing growth in the health and fitness market, backed up by national and local initiatives to promote participation in health and fitness.
10.29 In this particular case the proposals are put forward as a package. It has been argued that the Rugby Club relocation is only possible as a result of the involvement with DLL. It is also argued that it is inappropriate to disaggregate the indoor tennis element of the DLL proposal from the health and fitness element.
10.30 In considering the extent to which these components should be disaggregated, members need to consider what are the likely prospects of these different ‘needs’ being satisfied through disaggregated development.
10.31 With regard to the Rugby Club, officers acknowledge that the prospects of relocation/improvement of the facilities in isolation are currently poor and uncertain. Clearly it is difficult at this stage to predict whether funding opportunities will improve in the future.
10.32 With regard to indoor tennis officers again accept that there is a ‘need’ based on evidence. Officers also acknowledge that the prospects of indoor tennis being provided in isolation here or on another site is poor. Officers are aware that there are a number of examples of DLL clubs that do not provide indoor tennis. However, there are no examples of DLL clubs that contain indoor tennis but no health and fitness.
10.33 With regard to health and fitness, officers believe that the prospect of health and fitness provision being made in isolation are good. If this scheme did not go ahead then officers believe that there are good prospects that facilities would come forward in Farnham (for example at East Street) and in other nearby centres. It is not considered, therefore, that this package scheme represents the only way of securing increased provision for health and fitness.
10.34 In conclusion, the sequential approach to site selection has regard to the fact that this is a package. It considers the availability of sites large enough to accommodate both FRUFC and DLL. However, it is the DLL element that is subject to the requirement for a sequential approach to site selection. Therefore the main focus of the sequential test has been on sites that would accommodate a DLL centre comprising both indoor tennis and health and fitness.
Sequential Test and the Availability of Alternative Sites
10.35 Given the nature of the development, which would attract a large number of users, it is necessary for the applicants to show that they have considered the sequential approach to site selection. Government policy in PPG6 (which is carried forward in the recently issued draft PPS6), requires the sequential test to be applied to major retail and leisure proposals. In considering alternative sites, the Government has made it clear that developers must apply flexibility in the scale and format of the development. The application site is not a sequentially preferable location. Not only is it outside the town centre, it is also outside the urban area.
10.36 The applicants have made the point that this is a joint proposal and that one element (the Rugby Club relocation) is dependent on the other (the DLL proposal). In terms of site selection they have suggested, therefore, that a cautious approach should be undertaken given the interdependence of the two elements. Notwithstanding this, the applicants have considered alternative sites both in terms of sites that could accommodate both FRUFC and DLL and sites that could accommodate DLL only. In the submission, this analysis covers both sites within and around Farnham and sites within the 15-minute drive-time of the site (i.e. within Rushmoor, Hart and Guildford BC). One concern that officers have identified is the fact that the consideration of possible alternative sites is primarily focussed on sites within 15 minutes’ drive-time. However, when assessing need for indoor tennis, PMP used a 30-minute drive-time catchment. This is inconsistent. The applicants responded to this criticism by stating that the main use of DLL Clubs is from people within the local area and that even if an alternative site were available in Guildford or Camberley, for example, they would still want to develop the site in Farnham.
10.37 It has been argued in the representations that, in terms of site selection, the health and fitness element should be disaggregated from the indoor tennis. This would follow the Government guidance in terms of being flexible about size and format.
10.38 Not all David Lloyd centres are the same. For example, there are a number that do not have indoor tennis. This demonstrates the need for flexibility to suit different circumstances. However, there are no David Lloyd centres that provide indoor tennis, but no health and fitness. In the consideration of the alternative sites the applicants have only looked at sites suitable for a DLL centre containing both Health and Fitness and tennis. Members need to consider on the one hand the evidence which suggests that a facility containing indoor tennis needs the health and fitness element to be viable, against the fact that the health and fitness element could and should normally be in a town centre or edge of centre location. Members should have these issues in mind when considering the sequential test.
10.39 In terms of sites in Waverley, it does not appear that there is a more sequentially preferable sites in or around Farnham that could accommodate both FRUFC and DLL. In terms of the DLL proposal itself, officers also accept that there are not likely to be any other sequentially preferable sites in the urban area or town centre of Farnham that would be large enough or suitable for DLL. Even options outside the urban area around Farnham are limited. However, officers did suggest to the applicants that if a DLL facility only were proposed, then the land located between the trading estate (Water Lane) and the sewage works would be likely to have less visual impact, albeit that it would not be sequentially preferable.
10.40 The applicants have considered the existing availability of alternative sites for a DLL Centre within the 15-minute catchment. They have discussed the options with planning officers at Rushmoor, Hart and Guildford Borough (in the case of Guildford the catchment was enlarged to take in the whole urban area).
10.41 This exercise has not identified any sites that are presently available. Whilst this analysis is relevant, officers have reservations about the amount of weight that should be given to this. Officers are inclined to agree with the County Council in its response to the latest evidence on need/alternative sites. It comments that the assessment only considers the
availability of land. It is not an assessment of previously developed land in the urban areas with the
to be released under the sequential test. For example, it is possible that Brownfield sites such as the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Church Crookham and the substantial areas covered by Project Connaught in Rushmoor may, in time, become available. Moreover, with the completion of the new Local Care Centre in Farnham, it is likely that land could become available at the former Farnham Hospital, a brownfield site closer to the centre of Farnham.
10.42 Officers also consider that the promotion of major sport/recreation developments should be through the local plan process or, the soon to be introduced Local Development Framework (LDF). Local Authorities would use the preparation of plans/policies to consider significant leisure needs and identify sites in a pro-active way rather than reacting to development proposals as is the case here.
10.43 Overall, officers accept that there may not be sites that are currently available for this development, but officers are not convinced that sites will not become available that are sequentially preferable and/or are located within rather than outside the urban area.
10.44 Officers are also mindful of the fact that the PMP report identifies a catchment area of up to 30 minutes. Given this and the likely number of people using this facility, officers also agree with colleagues in Surrey County Council who express the view that a facility such as this should be related to a nearby major centre such as Guildford, Aldershot or Farnborough.
10.45 Finally, in relation to site selection, officers would again comment on the fact that although there are no sites available for the whole DLL Centre, there certainly are sites available in Farnham and elsewhere that could accommodate Health and Fitness.
10.46 There have been extensive discussions between the Highway Authority and the applicants’ highway consultants. However, these have not overcome the County’s “in principle” objection in relation to sustainability. This development would generate a significant number of visitor movement that would be largely dependent on the car. It fails the requirement to site developments of this type in central locations or other locations with good accessibility to other modes of transport.
10.47 A number of detailed measures have been considered. As indicated earlier in the report, the Highway Authority has identified a range of matters that would need to be included in a legal agreement in the event that permission is granted. However, it has also made it clear that these issues
overcome its main objection.
10.48 In addition, it will be noted that a holding objection was raised by the Rights of Way Officer on the grounds that the development affects the Definitive Route of the Public Footpath. The route of the path “on the ground” runs along the boundary. However, the Definitive Map shows this to be inside the boundary. Therefore, if planning permission were to be granted it would be necessary for the applicant to apply for a Diversion Order. It is also necessary for the Council to advertise the fact that, as it stands, this scheme would affect the line of the footpath.
11.1 In conclusion, your Sub-Committee has weighed the arguments for and against the project. In doing so, it has been reminded that where there is a clear conflict with up-to-date development plan policies, then the proposal should be rejected unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
11.2 The main arguments against allowing the development can be summarised as follows:-
1. There is a clear conflict with policies that seek to protect the countryside and the Strategic Gap;
2. The development would have a significant and, in the officers’ view, an adverse environmental impact on the locality. This harm would not be mitigated by measures such as the landscaping;
3. In terms of the sequential test, the site is poorly located and there is a conflict with policies that indicate that developments such as this, which attract a large number of visitors, should be located in central locations or other locations that have good accessibility to non-car modes of transport;
4. There may be opportunities that emerge in the future both in terms of sequentially preferable sites for DLL coming forward;
5. The more appropriate way to deal with major leisure developments would be by site identification through the Local Plan/LDF process.
11.3 In terms of relevant issues that support the scheme, these are summarised as:-
1. There is a need for indoor tennis locally - this scheme would contribute towards meeting the need;
2. There are clear benefits to FRUFC in terms of the new and improved facilities;
3. There is a growing demand for health and fitness and this scheme would contribute towards meeting this;
4. The prospects of the need for indoor tennis and the needs of the Rugby Club being met in some other way are currently poor/uncertain.
5. The DLL centre would include a package of measures dealing with social inclusion
11.4 Officers acknowledged the benefits of this overall development package and your Sub-Committee also recognised these. However, the Sub-Committee concurred with the Officers’ conclusion that these benefits do not outweigh the clear and significant conflict with policy. The principle of the relocation of FRUFC was a recognised need but it was considered that the overall development proposal, including DLL, should be refused. Your Sub- Committee concurred with the officers on this matter and accordingly
1. permission be REFUSED for the following reasons:-
1. Standard Countryside Beyond Green Belt (R1.2)
2. Standard Farnham/Aldershot Strategic Gap (R1.6)
3. The proposed development, by reason of its size, mass, height and scale and lighting would have a seriously detrimental impact of the character and appearance of this strategically important open area and would compromise the role it plays in maintaining the separation between the urban areas of Farnham, Weybourne and Badshot Lea. It would not accord, therefore, with Policies D1 and D4 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002, or the Policies identified in reasons 1 and 2 above.
4. The proposed development, if permitted in this out-of-town location, would be heavily reliant on travel by the private car and would not accord with Central Government planning policy guidance detailed in Planning Policy Guidance Note 6 (PPG6) – “Town Centres and Retail Developments” and PPG13 – “Transport”. Nor would it accord with Policies LO1 and LO2 of the Surrey Structure Plan (Deposit Draft) 2002 and Policy TC1 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002.
5. The Local Planning Authority has considered carefully the contribution of the development proposed to meeting current future leisure needs in the Farnham area but is not persuaded that this contribution outweighs the harm that would be caused to the countryside, the Strategic Gap, sustainability and Town Centre objectives of the Development Plan as set out in the Policies identified in reasons 1 - 5 above.
There are no background papers other than those referred to in this report (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.