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Multi-sports venue plan for Heswall
Green Belt regulations could be sidestepped for a venture to provide a Wirral community with a multi-sports venue open to all.
Heswall Squash Racquets Club has submitted plans for an extension to their existing complex in Brimstage Road at one of the main “gateways” to the town.
The club plan to develop the site with a new sports hall, gym, changing facilities and a cafe and to operate it as a community facility.
Local authority planners, who have recommended that the scheme be approved, insist that the new facilities would contribute significantly towards the standards of health and general fitness and well-being of the local population.
And they are satisfied that that the club has demonstrated sufficient “special circumstances” for Green Belt regulations to be set aside for the development to go ahead.
In their report to Wirral planning authority next Thursday planners argue that the proposed development did not undermine the purposes and role of the Green Belt.
It represented an important regeneration opportunity and no other, more suitable, sites existed in the area.
The existing building was “undistinguished” and the proposals represented an opportunity to secure a high quality complex.
"They would assist in aiding national objectives to combat obesity and improve general health and fitness and the extension and refurbishment would result in an increased sporting and leisure offer.
The report acknowledges that there would be some harm to the Green Belt but the need for a facility of community value in the area outweighed the harm, which would be minimal.
The club has stressed that the new complex would be operated for community benefit – not solely as a “Members Only” facility. It is proposed as a pay-as-you-play operation similar to that in place at West Kirby Concourse.
The local authority received one letter of objection to the scheme on the grounds of noise from sporting activities, overlooking of properties from a new viewing gallery and claims that a new building would be out of keeping with the character of the area.
As the proposals are for additional floor space of 1,148 square metres the application will have to be referred to the Secretary of State before a final decision can be made.
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