Hundreds of locals reject Hucknall sports field plan – but councillors look set to give it green light

Development plans for Papplewick Green sports pitches, in Hucknall, now look set for approval.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Watered-down proposals for development on a Hucknall sports pitch have been recommended for approval by councillors.

Developers have put forward numerous plans for the sports field, known locally as Papplewick Green and based on Kenbrook Road.

Plans were initially put forward for a 3G pitch and perimeter fence, a modular classroom and a goal storage building.

But four public consultations have returned 751 responses, including 677 objections to any development on the land.

Residents had previously raised concern over the proposals, based on public land, and the potential loss of green space.

Their fears have included anti-social behaviour, safety, and the “overbearing and significant visual impact” of the fencing.

Developer Jamie Brough, managing director of community organisation Sports Gateway, has altered the plans on several occasions.

Sports Gateway currently has a 12-month management agreement for the land, with Ashfield District Council.

Mr Brough’s first amendment removed the perimeter fence from the proposals.

The 3G pitch was removed and the goal store re-sited, in the second amendment.

The third change removed the modular classroom, leaving just the goal storage building in the plans.

The re-sited goal store has been moved to avoid existing natural turf pitches, which the applicant now plans to “support the use of”.

However, in the most recent consultation – focusing on just the goal store – 130 responses were received, all objecting to the plans.

Despite the concerns, councillors have been recommended to approve the application on Wednesday, August 25.

A report by the council’s planning officer says: “The proposal is considered to represent a form of appropriate development within the green belt, as it is considered that the primary functional use of the goal store is directly in association with outdoor sport and recreation.

“Due to the size, siting and finish of the proposed development, it is considered that it will not detract from the character of the street scene or visual amenity of the area, nor result in detrimental harm to the character and openness of the green belt.

“Therefore notwithstanding the objections received, it is recommended that this application be granted planning permission.”

The controversial plans have caused divisions within the local community, with longstanding club Hucknall Sports FC announcing it will leave the land after 44 years.

A 6,464-signature petition calling for the club to remain was rejected by Ashfield District Council last month.

The council said it “did not recognise” the petition, because it was not presented on an official platform.

The wider development has also caused concern to Hucknall MP and Government chief whip Mark Spencer, who described the planning applications as a “huge shame” for the community.

Members of Ashfield District Council’s planning committee will debate the amended goal store plans next week.

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