Key feedback included concerns regarding the loss of wildlife, loss of green space, issues with parking and traffic congestion.
How do you calculate the amount of parking for the High Copse pavilion and pitches?
The level of parking being promoted at High Copse (WBC Planning Ref : 223287) exceeds Wokingham Borough Council’s current parking standards, which require a minimum of 20 car parking spaces per sports pitch. The submitted proposals for the High Copse Pavilion promote a total of 60 car parking spaces, which will help to minimise the likelihood of inappropriate parking occurring elsewhere, particularly Hyde End Lane. The Pavilion Car Park has been designed so it can be readily expanded to deliver a total of 160 car parking spaces if required. The number of spaces available is currently set at 60, as oversupplying parking spaces by a considerable amount risks encouraging usage for non-related purposes.
What evidence has been used to determine the need for further pitches?
When outline planning permission was granted in 2013 for both the High Copse and Manor pitches, the guidance on the size and number of sports pitches was governed by Sport England, using an agreed formula in use at the time. The decision to show these as football pitches was based on the significant known local demand for football at the time.
We recognise that these decisions were made before the new housing development was built, and there have, in the past 10 years, been substantial changes to the area, naturally leading to a development in different interests of residents and subsequent requirements for sports facilities. This latest consultation has provided an important opportunity to ensure we have the most up-to-date views from residents and can base decisions on what actual demand is for sports facilities in the Parish.
How are the pitches being funded and how will they be managed?
The High Copse pavilion and pitches are funded through the new housing development, prior to their sale, and are an obligation for the University to deliver. Once completed, the facilities will be managed, maintained and operated by Shinfield Parish Council.
Regarding future pitches, funding could be sought as a result of further housing development or if Wokingham Borough Council or Shinfield Parish Council decided to provide funding. A Sports Strategy or Local Plan would identify the requirements for further pitches.
The levy attached to certain new housing developments is used solely for the maintenance of strategic greenspaces, such as the Ridge Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) or Langley Mead SANG. The levy does not contribute towards funding new pitches or maintaining existing ones.
Who will be able to use the pavilions and pitches?
The pitches and pavilions are being built for bookable community use. Although the pitches are being developed by the University and on University land, their primary use is for the local community, not University students. Once completed, the facilities will be managed, maintained and operated by Shinfield Parish Council.
How will you mitigate the risk of increased congestion on the roads?
The traffic impact associated with the Manor Pavilion and sports pitches was assessed at the time of the outline planning application which was consented in June 2013 (WBC Planning Ref : VAR/2013/0602). The transport mitigation package agreed at that time included provision towards improving walking, cycle and bus stop facilities within Shinfield as well as contributing towards the delivery of the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road.
Similarly, the transport impacts associated with the High Copse Pavilion and sports pitches were addressed as part of the highway mitigation secured for the Shinfield West development consented in March 2012 (WBC Planning Ref : 0/2010/1432). The mitigation works included the delivery of the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road, capacity enhancements at roundabouts within Shinfield and also the provision of new bus services within Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross.
The University recognises that the site proposed for the Northern Pitches is an open green space that is well used and valued by the local community. There is a strong desire for this space to be protected and not used for the development of further pitches. The University will review the current proposed site and the associated concerns.
As part of the review, the University will be organising a stakeholder workshop to discuss the Northern Pitches in detail, with the aim of identifying potential alternative locations for the pitches. The University will be inviting stakeholders from across the Shinfield community, including local councillors, local residents who live next to the proposed location and local sports clubs, so there is balanced representation.
Invitations will be sent out shortly to arrange a suitable date and time. We will be transparent about who attends the workshop and outcomes will be shared on our website and via the mailing list.
Until this workshop is held, the University will not be progressing further with the development of the Northern Pitches.