Hadleigh Cricket Club objects to the decision to grant planning permission to convert the former Babergh District Council offices in Corks Lane, Hadleigh into 57 new homes.
The club has yet to reach an agreement with Babergh and its agents, the Lawson Planning Partnership, over a range of issues and at last month’s planning committee meeting Hadleigh Cricket Club spoke in objection to the plans. Despite months of negotiations, the plans presented by the Lawson Planning Partnership to mitigate the impact on the cricket club have been unsatisfactory. Sport England have also objected to the development and are fully supportive of the club’s position.
The proposed mitigation solution does not reduce the risk of potential ball strikes to a level that the club would consider acceptable, and in fact shifts responsibility for maintenance of the mitigation solution from the developer to the cricket club, and puts a time limit on that management and maintenance plan. At a meeting in January it was made clear by the senior representative of Babergh that the club would be fully liable for any damage to property or persons. This meant that we had to request an improvement to the proposed mitigation measures in order to protect the club’s interests.
As it stands the height of the permanent ball stop netting, at 4.3m, is just too low and exposes not only the club but the future residents of the development to far too much risk. The height of the demountable ball stop netting, while offering greater protection, still offers the risk of damage to property.
We find it completely unacceptable that responsibility for maintenance of the netting will fall exclusively onto the cricket club, and that there will be a 15-year term of funding for such maintenance, rather than an indefinite period, as previously stated by the Lawson Planning Partnership.
The positioning of the netting will mean the cricket club will lose part of its playing area. The precise location of the netting has yet to be confirmed, but whatever land is lost Sport England have made it clear that this would contravene exception E3 of its Playing Fields Policy.
We have the full support of the statutory consultee Sport England and our governing body the England and Wales Cricket Board. We endorse Sport England’s request for a meeting between the cricket club, Babergh, their agents and representatives from Sport England and the ECB to resolve the outstanding issues and reach agreement on a mitigation scheme.
We simply cannot understand how the application could be approved when there are so many unresolved issues with the organisation that it will affect most. We do not want to oppose the development. We do not want to see these buildings fall into disuse. All we want is to continue playing cricket as we have done on this ground for over 200 years, nothing more, nothing less.
For and on behalf of Hadleigh Cricket Club’s management committee