Planning permission sought to raise Exmouth football pitches

Devon County Council’s Flood Risk Management Team said that the applicant had not submitted sufficient information in relation to surface water drainage.

It added: “The applicant does not appear to have provided any drainage strategy. Changes in ground levels can alter surface water flowpaths and may require mitigation to ensure there is no increased surface water risk to neighbouring land/property.”

exmouth.nub.news 

Plans to raise and level football pitches at Warren View Sports Ground have been submitted to East Devon District Council on behalf of Exmouth Town Youth Football Club.

According to the planning documents, the site floods regularly due to poor drainage and is located within flood zone three, the highest risk category.

The land is also reportedly “undulating with an uneven surface”.

If approved, the proposals would see the playing pitches raised “very marginally” (by around a metre or less in most places), levelled, and re-seeded.

Sport England, a public body, said it supported the raising of the playing field land and levelling of the pitches but asked for further information about drainage and pitch construction.

Devon County Council’s Flood Risk Management Team said that the applicant had not submitted sufficient information in relation to surface water drainage.

It added: “The applicant does not appear to have provided any drainage strategy. Changes in ground levels can alter surface water flowpaths and may require mitigation to ensure there is no increased surface water risk to neighbouring land/property.”

The plans have received five objections from the public at the time of writing, one neutral comment, and one comment in support.

Concerns raised include drainage issues, the height of the new pitches, and a perceived impact on wildlife.

Mark Hansford, objecting, said: “The fields are a habitat for a huge range of wildlife. There is at least one foxes den/set on the edge of the pitches and the foxes are out on the pitches at night and during the daylight. There is a badger set. There are oystercatchers and wading birds, bats, birds of prey and many small mammals.”

Penelope Cowman, remaining neutral, said: “I support the comments of the DCC Flood Risk Management Team that there is no drainage strategy. There is no mention of a geotechnical assessment of the ground or whether percolation tests have been carried out to ensure that soakaways will work or what alternative is proposed if they don’t?”

Robin Humphreys, objecting, said: “There are already considerable traffic and access problems when the football club is in operation which will be made worse if the surface is improved, allowing increased use of the site.

“Having been a resident overlooking the site for over 20 years the rationale for the development, that of flooding, has not been apparent.”

The application is currently awaiting a decision from the district council.

One thought on “Planning permission sought to raise Exmouth football pitches

  1. Could the two councils, County and District, perhaps work with the applicant on this?

    There’s not enough on the application to explain to me why it might be necessary to actually raise the ground level here, and it doesn’t really tell me anything at all about their plans.

    This is the pitch 2 area which is already above the level of the internal road and houses at the south eastern end.

    It’s not accurate to describe this as poor drainage. It is failed drainage, despite there having been a clear maintenance obligation on the lease between former leaseholder Exmouth Amateurs and landlord East Devon District Council. I have seen evidence of polite requests, complaints, and even a partial rent strike, going back well before the 2008 financial crash, before the lease was forfeited with highly selective justifications in 2016.

    Then there was a further period with bad faith being shown to numerous other sporting organisations before the current administration returned it to the community in the form of Exmouth Town Youth in 2020, with the decision being taken by decent members of all parties. I understand that all officers involved acted in good faith on this occasion, including the one who had been apparently unable to fulfil specific promises in 2016, though the legal aspects took a surprising amount of time.

    The new lease has apparently transferred the drainage obligation to the tenant, but although the council has undone part of the wilful harm of its predecessors one would hope they could do more.

    The reason I believe the County Council have an obligation in this is that it is substantially their water, the main incursion being from the dip in Halsdon Avenue being piped under a bungalow and into the ground, leading me to speculate that the other “springs ” in the bank are from the other Halsdon Avenue gullies. So taking short cuts in the development of Halsdon Avenue apparently created a problem for those coming after.

    Another breach of leaseholder obligation was in failing to deal with trespass from neighbouring properties, including to fly tip gardening waste. Some of which may well have contributed to the silting of the drains.

    One would assume that East Devon have plans of the existing draining system, and indeed that those were given to the surveying engineers in 2018/19(?), in order that they didn’t cause more damage by drilling.

    Neglect of this lovely facility has been going on for 20 years, often despite the best efforts of leaseholders and with the active obstruction of the landlord. Despite this it has provided so many of us with very happy memories. What better summer evening for a dad with his teenage son to kick a ball purposefully for an hour or so and then relax watching the fox cubs play. I do hope they manage to achieve the functional restitution of the facilities but retain enough space for the wildlife.

    It is ironic that this has cropped up just as Cllr Skinner has commenced the Conservatives’ campaign for this year’s district elections, telling us how we need a change of administration. There couldn’t be clearer evidence that the recent history here of how the change of administration has been a gain for the community, and of course Skinner himself was significantly implicated in the shameful events of 2016.

    https://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RM9X3SGHK0F00&activeTab=summary

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