Published: 19:03, 22 May 2020
| Updated: 19:06, 22 May 2020
A former school sports field is to be transformed into 88 new homes, a 4G football pitch and a two storey clubhouse.
Last night Dover District Council planners gave the green light to Sunningdale House Developments for their scheme at the site behind Freemens Way in Deal.
The project will also include eight 15-metre high lighting columns, an equipped play area, car parking for the homes and an extra 50 car parking spaces for the sports field and pavilion. There will also be electric charging points for vehicles and hard and soft landscaping.
The proposal had prompted concerns from residents, specifically around traffic and congestion, the amount of parking and insufficient access, increased air pollution, impact on schools and doctors surgeries and some queried whether the affordable homes meet local need.
Councillors at the remotely filmed meeting heard updates on the points from case officer Luke Blaskett who said it was estimated there would be 37-43 two-way movements during peak hours. And despite losing about five car parking spaces, six would be created in the site for use by Freemens Way residents in recompense, thus Kent County Council Highways department has decided that access to the plot is suitable.
He said the developer had committed to the financial contributions asked of them in the 106 agreement including £66,300 for the NHS Primary Care Trust and £292,512 and£362,120 respectively towards the expansion at a Deal primary school and Dover Grammar School for Girls.
Yesterday we reported how Sport England had objected on a raft of grounds including that the developers need to liaise with the Football Association.
Since the agenda document was produced the applicant has engaged with the FA, leagues and at least one club.
Deal based Cinque Ports FC has been identified which is interested in entering into a long lease for the pitch and clubhouse. But Cllr Trevor Bond said without the backing of Sport England 'not much' could be done with the pitch and the clubhouse.
He was told the developer would keep ownership of these, but he raised concerns the assets might end up becoming the responsibility of Dover District Council somewhere down the line if it is not successful.
The site fulfils the district council's requirement of 30% affordable housing, of which the council will decide how that mix will be delivered.
Planning officers had recommended approval and Cllr Roger Walkden moved the recommendation.
Cllr Helen Williams said she wanted the re-assurance that the community could be involved after construction through a club house management committee.
This is to ensure residents in the existing area have their feelings heard on the running of the sports pitch and the club house so matters like noise and traffic nuisance are always considered.
This was added as an amendment to Cllr Walkden's motion which was passed when six members voted for approval and one voted against. Cllr Trevor Bond abstained while Cllr Joe Burnam was unable to vote where his device lost connection and democratic services were not able to reach him after three attempts.
The site was once the former playing field of South Deal Primary School which was sold when the school amalgamated with Mongeham Primary in 2006. It has stood empty and not in sporting use for more then five years.
The application was submitted by agent Hume Planning Consultancy Ltd in July 2019 .
There had previously been talk of 90 homes going there when Kent County Council put the site up for sale.
More by this authorBeth Robson