Havant RFC ATP/Nursery condition regarding adjacent MUGA
Representing Havant RFC, ACHIEVE was again called upon by the Club to submit an application in 2015, permanent permission having been won for the floodlighting of pitch 2 on Appeal, via my advocacy at Informal Hearing, back in 1998.
Permission was sought to utilise existing squash courts in the clubhouse to form additional hospitality space at first floor, with new external balcony and creation of an independent children’s day nursery at ground floor level. The latter was an important initiative for the club as a means of generating a sustainable stream of income, to invest in promoting rugby union in the local community. An external space was also to be enclosed to create a break-out space for the nursery.
A careful strategy had to be devised to ensure that Sport England could see that the loss of underused squash courts would be compensated. This was achieved by careful research other available squash courts in the Borough and proposing to make qualitative improvements to a tarmacadam surfaced council MUGA court located immediately west of the clubhouse by its upgrading to a 3G artificial turf surface. This was promoted as an alternative training space, principally for mini and junior age group rugby, typically in January and February, when grass pitches often became waterlogged.
Permission was granted under officer delegated powers, subject to the resurfacing of the MUGA occurring within 6 months of the nursery first opening for business.
In between times, the Club worked closely with the RFU and a further project was devised to put a 3G artificial pitch with floodlighting in place of the existing grass 1st XV pitch immediately north of the clubhouse/stand. ACHIEVE provided the planning history background.
The Application was submitted by the RFU’s appointed agent (CBRE). The project received planning permission and was developed, providing rugby opportunities for the club and surrounding area.
At this point ACHIEVE became involved again and permission was sought to remove the planning condition related to the commencement of the nursery/re-surfacing of the MUGA. It was successfully argued that the 365 days/year facility on the 1st XV pitch, more than compensated for the original loss of the underused squash courts, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Sport England were convinced of the merits of this argument and planning permission was granted.
This was a very satisfying project for ACHIEVE to be part of, allowing me to continue to genuinely put back something into the club I have been a member of since 1986.