Agenda item

Application for Consideration - 22/01866/FULL St Marks Recreation Ground, Frant Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.


Planning Report and Presentation – The Head of Planning Services submitted a report in respect of application PLA154/22 St Marks Recreation Ground, Frant Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent and this was summarised at the meeting by James Moysey Principal Planning Officer and illustrated by means of a visual presentation.


Updates and additional representation – Since publication of the agenda report, the presenting officers updated:


·        Condition 15 is proposed to be amended to the following:

No external lighting shall be installed on the site other than that shown on the hereby approved plans or as approved under condition 14 without the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: In the interests of amenity of adjoining residents.


Registered Speakers – There were 8 speakers that registered in accordance with the Council’s Constitution (Planning Committee Procedure Rules)



·        Kenneth Arntvel, a local resident.

·        Kirsty Souter, a local resident.

·        Mark Brown, a local resident.



·        Mike Rigby, Chair of the TWRFC

·        Paul Carnell

·        Rory Joyce


Borough Councillors not on the Planning Committee:

·        Councillor Gavin Barrass, Pantiles and St Marks.

·        Councillor Peter Lidstone, St John’s.


Matters of clarification by Officers and Committee Members’ questions to Officers included:

                 i.          Officers referred to National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and reminded Members that paragraph 92.A, set out that planning decisions should promote social interaction, including opportunities for meetings between people who might not otherwise come into contact with each other and paragraph 93.A, set out that decisions should plan positively for the provision and use of shared spaces and for community facilities and other local services.

                ii.          The Council's Landscape and Biodiversity Officer had commented on the application from a landscape perspective and impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and they concluded that, having regard to the NPPF and the great weight afforded to the AONB in decision making, their view was that the level of harm, when taking into account the limited nature and extent of that harm, the site context and the nature of the proposal was likely to be acceptable. Consequently, provided then that the mitigation enhancements were properly secured, they did not object to the application on landscape grounds.

               iii.          Conditions 5 and 6 largely related to tree protection, to preserve the existing boundary planting that existed.

              iv.          Condition 7 required landscaping details to be submitted to the council for approval.

                v.          Condition 8 required the approved landscape scheme to be fully implemented.

              vi.          Condition 9 related to a landscape and ecological management plan.

             vii.          The full wording of Condition 27 which related to levels and the visual impact was read for the benefit of Members.

            viii.          Officers spoke in detail about floodlighting and potential overspill. Officers had consulted the Council's Environmental Protection Team, who had raised no objection subject to conditions which had been put in place at conditions 14, 15 and 16.

              ix.          The Council’s Ecologist was satisfied with findings that concluded that it would have a negligible impact upon bats.

                x.          There were 55 parking spaces at the site and an additional 76 parking spaces were proposed for the site, therefore it was the Officers view that whilst it did not completely eradicate the current issue with parking in the area, it certainly helped to alleviate that. This was echoed by the Kent County Council (KCC) comments as shown within the report.

              xi.          Given the separation distance between the pitch and the properties on Forest Road, along with the existing boundary treatments and additional boundary landscaping which was to be retained, Officer’s did not consider on balance that the proposal would have such a detrimental impact upon residential amenity to warrant refusal.

             xii.          Condition 12 required further details of cycle parking.

            xiii.          The timings for floodlighting were discussed and Sport England had suggest a number of conditions which were part of the recommendation.

           xiv.          Members were advised that it was possible to amend condition 14 to either specify the hours of operation or reference details of operating hours and that they shall be in accordance with condition 23.

             xv.          The Environmental Protection Team were consulted and had not objected to the lighting proposed.

           xvi.          Clarification was provided where a site or Planning Unit as a whole falls across two boroughs, they required to apply for permission from both authorities. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council had worked alongside Wealden Council and ensured that were there was a level of consistency between the approach of both authorities.

          xvii.          Condition 13 which came from KCC Highways addressed access and parking and was read in full for benefit of Members.

        xviii.          It was difficult to restrict the use of the club and it was the Officer’s opinion that by having improved facilities whilst it helped the club's current condition and assist in your growth it did not necessarily increase the pool of players or the catchment area.


Committee Member debate and Officer clarification included:

                 i.          Lighting and Parking were highlighted as the two main issues and points were raised, Members were reassured with conditions in place.

                ii.          Members wondered whether they could encourage the rugby club to promote car sharing, this was addressed and it was possible to add as an informative.

               iii.          The conditions related to coaches and access were welcomed.

              iv.          Sport England’s most recent comments were clarified at paragraphs 7.02 and 7.03 of the report and it was confirmed that they had withdrawn their objection.

                v.          The mixed use of the pitches was highlighted as a point and the separation of the rugby and cricket meant that the ground would be better and safer for players to use.

              vi.          Noise levels were highlighted and it was thought that the issues would not be as bad as residents feared as a lot of the noise would be in the winter evenings, people have to be inside.

             vii.          The introduction of 3G pitches was felt to be important given the changeable weather.

            viii.          It was felt that the application should be viewed as an improvement to the club rather than an extension of the club.

              ix.          Amendments to conditions 14, 15 and 23 were suggested and Officers clarified the changes.

                x.          Members sought to attach a further informative that recommended that the details to be submitted under condition 27 sought to create a pitch as low as possible in order to limit the impact beyond the site, Officers agreed.

              xi.          Members sought to add an informative that the cycle bays be covered, Officers agreed.

             xii.          Members were advised that the informatives were not enforceable like a condition, however it did form part of the decision notice and were used to strengthen or steer the applicant when submitting details for the conditions.


Decision/voting – On the basis that members were satisfied that all relevant planning considerations had been covered within the report, a motion was proposed by Councillor Britcher-Allan seconded by Councillor Fitzsimmons and a vote was taken to approve the application in line with the officer recommendation.


RESOLVED – That application PLA154/22 be granted subject to the plans, conditions and informatives as set out in the agenda report and the updated conditions and additional informatives below:


·        Amended  Condition 14:

Prior to the first use of the hereby approved 3G/all-weather pitch, as shown on the approved plans, a detailed scheme of lighting shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This scheme shall take note of and refer to the Institute of Lighting Engineers Guidance Notes for the Reduction of Obtrusive Lighting, GN01, dated 2005 (and any subsequent revisions) and shall include a layout plan with beam orientation and a schedule of light equipment proposed (luminaire type; mounting height; aiming angles and luminaire profiles) and an ISO lux plan showing light spill. The scheme of lighting shall be installed, maintained and operated in accordance with the approved scheme unless the Local Planning Authority gives its written consent to any variation.


Reason: In the interest of visual and residential amenity.


·        Amended Condition 15:

No external lighting shall be installed on the site other than that shown on the hereby approved plans or as approved under condition 14 without the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority.


·        Reason: In the interests of amenity of adjoining residents.


·        Additional Informatives:


1.     The use of public transport, cycling and car sharing in order to access the grounds for both players and spectators shall be promoted and encouraged.


2.     The hereby approved all-weather pitch, and details to be submitted in accordance with condition 27 (earthworks and levels), shall seek to construct the pitch on the lowest land level possible in order to reduce the visual and residential amenity impact.


3.     The on-site cycle parking/storage provisions shall be covered/sheltered.

Supporting documents: