A plan to deal with a soil mound is the latest bid causing concern at the home of Blyth Town FC.
A scheme for the ‘modification and redistribution of an existing earth mound’ is the latest application in a long-winded planning journey at South Newsham Pavilion, which has featured successful and unsuccessful appeals and a series of bids to vary conditions and plans.
The original bid for a 150-seater spectator stand, the reconfiguration of pitches, new floodlighting and a fence, at the site off Sandringham Drive, proved controversial when submitted in December 2013 and it was refused a year later.
But an appeal by Blyth Town against Northumberland County Council’s decision found in the football club’s favour in April 2015.
However, the scheme was not carried out entirely in accordance with the approved plans so a retrospective bid was submitted to try to address those issues.
This too was refused, in October 2016, due to the impact of mounds of earth on the site and the fencing on the public open space. A subsequent appeal of this refusal was unsuccessful.
Two further applications to vary the plans and make changes to the scheme were approved, but again some of the work carried out was at odds to what was previously agreed. These ‘extremely minor’ variances were regularised through plans approved last July.
The latest plan, to reduce the existing mound’s height by 1.4m through redistributing the excess soil around the site and covering it in grass, has also attracted objections from residents.
Neighbours question why this is subject to a planning application as they claim the mound – described by one as ‘an illegally formed spoil heap of earth and construction waste’ – should not be there in the first place.
It has already been decided that the proposal will be decided by the Ashington and Blyth Local Area Council, as ‘due to the extensive site history and controversial nature of the site, it is felt a decision made by planning committee would be the most suitable approach for such an application’.
It is recommended for approval at the meeting which takes place next Wednesday (January 16).
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service