PLANNING permission has been granted to a parish council to extend a sports changing block to create a meeting room and an office for its use. Forsbrook Parish Council can now construct a side extension onto this building located on Blythe Bridge recreation field which will be the location for around 25 meetings a year. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) received an amended planning application on January 21 which stated: “The front wall of the extension set back slightly behind the main front wall of the building and the roof ridge of the extension dropped the same distance lower than the main roof ridge of the building.”
In their application, the parish council told SMDC that “the meeting room will mainly be used by the clerk and parish council”
It also stated: “The PCSO may use the facility for rest stops.
“The meetings would be the monthly parish council meetings in the third Monday of the month.
“There is not likely to be more than 25 meetings held in there in a year.
“There is a car park attached to the changing rooms already which is used by the football teams when they use the facilities twice weekly.
“The basketball hoop has been in situ for at least 15 years and the car park has always been used in that time.
“The car park is not a sports facility and the basketball hoop will be moved in the near future.
“The meeting room will have minimal car parking use and there is certainly more space for cars than is required.
“The meeting room will have space for approximately 15 people.
“The office is for the parish clerk who will use the car park with one car.
“It will be open approximately 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
“We do not anticipate any on street car parking which will result from the use of the meeting room/ office.”
Resident James Corden had lodged an objection against the planning application, touching on concerns of noise and parking.
He stated: “There will be a danger when something like 20 plus cars are leaving and drawing out onto ‘The Avenue’ which has cars parked down both sides of the road, which in effect makes the road only two meters wide, just about wide enough for only one car.
“With no street lighting, a bend in the road and a disabled parking bay on the opposite side of the road to the entrance and exit to the playing fields, this could lead to very serious accidents.”
“The extra noise of people and cars leaving the venue at night will be totally unacceptable.
“With cars using the hard standing area as a parking area, this will make it impossible for children to use the baseball net or the hard standing area for play, after all this area is part of the playing fields and children playing and moving cars do not mix.”
In a delegated decision report, SMDC planning officer Chris Johnstone stated that although the proposed build is on Green Belt land, the size of the development would not be a “disproportionate” enlargement of the building.
He said: “The site is in the Green Belt and new buildings are only allowed under limited criteria as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
“The NPPF does allow extensions to buildings where this would not result in a disproportionate enlargement.
“I do not consider this would amount to a disproportionate enlargement of the building. “Furthermore, amended plans have also been received to show the slight set back of the front wall and the dropping of the roof ridge to make the extension appear more subservient to the current building and which would respect the dominance of the main building.”
He concluded: “Overall, I do not consider the extension, although partly visible from the dwellings to the rear, would be overbearing enough to cause significant harm to the living conditions of the occupants.
“It is also not high enough to cause significant loss of light to the gardens and windows and the absence of windows on the proposed rear elevation would avoid harmful overlooking.
“The proposed extension would not amount to inappropriate development in the Green Belt and would respect the appearance of the building and surrounding area in terms of its scale and design.
“It would not harm residential amenity or lead to traffic and parking problems with the safeguard of conditions.”
Mr Johnston recommended the plans for approval and the “proposed extension to sports changing block to form meeting room and office” was subsequently passed by SMDC.
In December 2018, the Times and Echo reported that the council had set a budget of £50,000 for the project.
Forsbrook Parish Council clerk Dawn Plant told the Times and Echo last week: “The parish council have only just received the news formally that the plans have been passed so I have added it to the agenda for discussion at the February meeting for further discussion and decision.
“Forsbrook Parish Council are pleased to hear that with the amendments it will be recommended for approval.
“We hope to leave this building as a legacy for the community.”
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