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Government could have final say on village's long-awaited games area

PUBLISHED: 09:49 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:40 31 July 2019

Salhouse Parish Council is seeking permission to build a new Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at the village recreation ground on Thieves Lane. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Salhouse Parish Council is seeking permission to build a new Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at the village recreation ground on Thieves Lane. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Sport England has objected to plans for a new games area in Salhouse - warning that the scheme will have to go before a Government department if it is approved.

Salhouse Parish Council is seeking permission to build a new Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at the village recreation ground on Thieves Lane.

Its application goes before Broadland District Council's planning committee on August 7, where it has been recommended for approval.

But Sport England East is objecting to the scheme due to its proposed location on an existing mini football pitch.

In a report that will go before Broadland councillors next week, Sport England East said: "Should the local planning authority be minded to approve the MUGA proposed, then the application shall be referred to the secretary of state [for housing, communities and local government] via the national planning casework unit."

Sport England East said the mini pitch is located on the former site of a two-thirds size football pitch, and that by installing a MUGA, it would prevent the larger pitch from being marked out again.

It said a more "acceptable" location would be on an adjacent car park.

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The proposed 34m (111ft) by 18m (59ft) MUGA would be enclosed by a 3m-high mesh fence. It will be marked out for football, basketball, netball and tennis.

Plans submitted to Broadland state demand for the games area was first identified in 2008 and is now being made possible thanks to Section 106 funding.

According to the council report, the chairman of the Salhouse Rovers Football Club supports the application.

The existing mini football pitch would be marked out on an unused part of the playing field, the report said.

Responding to Sport England's concerns, the planning officer's report said: "Ultimately it is an assessment of what is deemed to be the most useful recreational provision for that community at that particular point in time.

"I consider the gain of a MUGA, for which there is community support, would outweigh the loss of the mini football pitch and loss of the potential for provision of a two-thirds size pitch."

The officer said the alternative location for the MUGA, adjacent to the car park, was ruled out due to safety concerns.

The officer said that the scheme will have to go before the national planning casework unit if approved, due to Sport England's objection.

The department will then advise the council whether it needs to be called in for the secretary of state to determine.

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