Agenda item

To consider the report and make any appropriate recommendations to Cabinet.


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The Chief Executive presented the Cabinet report which set out proposals for creation of a 3G pitch at River Lane.  She explained that the summary of funding had changed slightly since the report had been written.  An application for CIL funding had been submitted and if successful the funding from the Borough Council included in the report would not be required.  It was also highlighted that the project was subject to an application to the Football Foundation and would also be subject to Planning Permission.


Tommy Goode from Alive West Norfolk provided the Panel with detail on the work carried out with Norfolk Football Association and local clubs and it had been highlighted that within local football facilities plans, King’s Lynn was low on provision.  He highlighted the funding available from the Football Foundation if the application was successful.


Details of the Fields in Trust status was provided, and it was explained that there was a formal process to go through to change the area to a 3G pitch.


Tommy Goode provided detail of the benefits of the 3G pitch which included better facilities, increased capacity and tackling antisocial behaviour.


The Chair thanked officers for their report and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.


Councillor Kemp raised concern about the level of public consultation, and it was explained that local Football clubs and users had been consulted on the process.  Residents would be consulted as part of the planning application process.  Tommy Goode also explained that currently people paid to use the existing pitches, and this was an additional provision to increase capacity.


Councillor Rust commented that she did not see the level of antisocial behaviour in this area that officers were using to justify the proposal.  She also referred to Fields in Trust and that the project would remove space from public use.  She was also concerned about noise and light pollution and the increased traffic at Beulah Street.  She felt that removing green space was not inclusive and there was a lack of green and amenity space in the area.  Councillor Rust also commented that many people would be unable to afford to use the space, which was currently free to use, it wouldn’t help the health and wellbeing of local people and it was just a way for the Council to make money.  Tommy Goode explained that discount for local residents was being looked at and a lot of free space for things such as recreation and dog walking would be retained.  It would only be the 3G pitch area that would be fenced in.  He made reference to other work being carried out in North Lynn to support residents and increase activity in the area.  He explained that Dutton Pavilion would service the field and staff presence in the area should positively impact antisocial behaviour.


The Chair, Councillor Bower asked for detail on the 3.8 ha mitigation area referred to in the report and it was explained that this included the area to the rear of the car park where the Covid testing centre was currently situated.


Councillor de Whalley raised concerns relating to the 3.8 ha mitigation area and felt that this would be unsuitable for football or sport.  He commented that there needed to be additional facilities, not a 3G pitch in place of an existing free to use pitch.  He made reference to flooding in the area and the Green Infrastructure Plan which set out how we shouldn’t target existing playing fields.  He felt that an alternative site should be considered.  He also asked if Hunstanton and Downham Market had been considered.  Tommy Goode explained that more recreational space would be made available in the area and there were other pitches in the area that would be retained and available for hire, which were currently rarely used.  He explained that drainage issues had been investigated and discussions had been held with the Internal Drainage Board.


Councillor Devereux felt that the proposals would improve the offer in the area and attract people to the underused area.  He also reminded the Panel that the Norfolk Football Association had identified a lack of provision in the area.  He asked what the lifespan of the pitch would be and if any specific drainage improvements would be required.  Tommy Goode explained that the lifespan was 10-12 years, LED lights would be installed, and drainage would be looked at.  He also explained that there were some Multi Use Games areas around the Borough and work was ongoing with the Purfleet Trust to try and encourage usage.


In response to a question from the Vice Chair, Councillor Bubb, it was explained that lighting would be on until 10pm at the latest and 3G pitches were designed that they could be used in all but severe weather.


Councillor Collop commented that more consultation with residents should take place.  She also did not feel that the 3G pitch would last 10-12 years based on the state of the current 3G pitch which had been in situ for approximately three years.  Tommy Goode explained that the 10-12 year lifespan was based on the specification from the Football Association.


In response to a question from Councillor Bullen regarding provision in Downham Market, it was explained that options would be looked at after this project.


Councillor Wilkinson asked if the costs of consultation and surveys had been considered and Tommy Goode explained that this would be picked up as part of the planning application process.


In response to a question from Councillor de Whalley it was explained that the 5-a-side pitches in the area were unsuitable for higher level sports and were more appropriate for recreational use or for younger children.  Councillor Rust asked if the existing pitch could be upgraded to a 3G pitch instead and Tommy Goode explained that certain activities such as Hockey would not then be able to use it.


The Panel discussed the recommendation to Cabinet and Councillor de Whalley proposed that the Panel recommend to Cabinet that some form of public consultation with residents should be carried out and alternative sites should be looked at.  The Panel discussed the proposed recommendation to Cabinet.


After being put to the vote the Panel agreed that the below be recommended to Cabinet.


RESOLVED: The Environment and Community Panel recommend to Cabinet that some form of consultation with residents should be carried out and alternative sites should be investigated for the 3G pitch.

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