Fan engagement over NWG issue – Updated 31st March 2016
6th April 2016 – WDC Executive Committee agenda item 5
3.5 The sites that were still under consideration when the last update was
issued can now be updated as follows:
• Leamington Football Club, Harbury Lane (potential for up to 15
pitches): Although the site is still potentially suitable and available, the
football club does need to relocate before the land will be made
available and we have committed to not invoking powers of
compulsory purchase to acquire this site. Work in acquiring the
restrictive covenant continues and is progressing. This will need to be
completed at such time as the football club moves. Rooftop, the social
housing provider which provides and manages sites for Gypsies and
Travellers, retains an interest in doing so at this site. A report is likely
to come to the Full Council regarding this site on 20th April 2016, which
may help to bring this site forward although it will not be within the
first 5 years from 2012…6.5. As the relocation of the football club will be outside the current HCA
funding programme, it is not yet known whether any funding will be
available for the construction of the site. There is a meeting with HCA
representatives shortly that might reveal some up-to-date information.
There may be pressure therefore for the Council to construct the site
which is £1m+ if a landlord such as Rooftop is involved.
24th February 2016 – WDC pass updated Local Development Scheme
Appendix 4 – Local Development Scheme – January 2016 (pdf download) pp 15 & 20 give a timetable for the G&T sites Development Plan:
- Nov’16 draft publication
- Jan’17 submission to Sec. of State
- Mar’17 Examination in public hearing
- May’17 receipt of Inspector’s report
- Jun’17 estimated date for adoption
20 August 2014 – WDC Excutive Committee Minutes published
18 August 2014 – Draft Development Plan passed on 13 August- including the NWG as an Allocated Site.
Draft Development Plan for the Allocation of Sites for Gypsies and Travellers
On 13 August members of the Council recommended publication of the Draft Development Plan for consultation for legal compliance and soundness purposes.
The report and associated appendices are listed as item 13 on the committee papers page.
A period of consultation of 6 weeks will follow before the plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for the appointment of a Planning Inspector who will examine the Plan in due course. Consultation is likely to commence in mid September.
For more detail from the Trust’s perspective see this separate post: No Compulsory Purchase of the NWG.
12 August 2014 – now in the media
The Brakes Trust has emailed all WDC councillors and will attend the Council meetings tomorrow. We have registered for a spokesperson to address the Executive Council.
06 August 2014 (updated 08 August) – the Report from Planning still includes the NWG and will be considered by WDC Council next Weds 13th August.
Site considered to be suitable when it becomes available. Negotiations continue and it is
believed that the land will be available within the first five years. [ Site Assessment Appendix]
[Draft Plan Doc Appendix 2 – Site A (GT04) is the NWG]
5.1 The Council has allocated the following sites for Gypsy and Traveller use.
Provision of pitches on these sites will be phased so that 25 permanent pitches will be provided in years 1–5 and a further 6 permanent pitches in years 6–15 in accordance with the GTAA. For this reason, 9 pitches only will be allowed on Site A during years 1-5 , a further 15 on Site B and 1 pitch on site C. An additional 6 permanent pitches will be allowed on Site A in years 6-15.
[Extract from Appendix 1 Report on the outcomes of Public Consultation Options 2014]
Extract from the summary of representations – presumably derived from the objections from the Club, Trust etc:
Highly questionable whether the football club would be better off on a new site;cost of new site; cost of providing facilities as good as those currently on site
Require the re-location of a football club and will not be cost effective Club delivers benefits to community, charities and economy of the towns. Do not wish to lose the club or those benefits.
Would take an important community amenity away from Whitnash and its residents
After losing the Old Windmill Ground to developers, to now lose the NWG would be a disaster after all the work the fans and supporters have put in to the transformation of that ground Urge the Council to reconsider the proposal unless a satisfactory new ground can be found and transformed to allow continuity of play
Local people who support the team would have to travel further, thus increasing traffic levels
Leamington FC will need to be relocated and its history tarnished
Interim ground sharing would not be possible if the Club wants to keep its current status within the football pyramid
Land is subject to a covenant that it shall not be used other than as a sports ground with ancillary facilities
Football club has been looking for an alternative site for a while without success
WDC’s response in Appendix 1:
These are issues which the football club will decide. It is not the Council’s intention to worsen the facilities which the club currently enjoys, force the club to share a ground or indeed prevent the club from continuing. Any future ground will be agreed by both parties. Any new ground and facilities would be within Warwick District and would offer at least comparable if not improved facilities.
Any covenants would need to be addressed through our legal representatives. The Council is working closely with the club to find a new location.
Summary of Sport England’s objection:
Sport England would object unless NPPF para. 74 is adhered to
Summary of Shareholder’s representation:
Consultation is taking place on the flawed premise that the club is a willing vendor Site is not available now and cannot realistically be delivered within the timescale of 2017
The Council has not been given this impression [by whom? Does this ignore the shareholders representation?]
Representation re Sustainable Community Strategy:
Contrary to the Warwick Sustainable Community Strategy as it offers sporting/leisure opportunities and potentially helps reduce anti-social behaviour
These facilities are not being considered for removal, just for relocation and will therefore not lose any benefits
Council should not fund the relocation of the Football Club in the event of a compulsory purchase. This does not represent good taxpayer value
25 July 2014 – additional info from WDC
It should be available online 5 working days before the date of the meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for 3 September, but I understand that there will be a meeting arranged for around 13th August.
so that implies the report from planning could be available sometime during the week commencing 4 August for the Council meeting on 13 August, that is the only meeting currently showing on the list of meeting dates.
24 July 2014 – response to “what’s happening” email from WDC
We are hoping to take a report to our Executive in mid August, but with the Local Plan having a later date, this may need to be amended. In the meantime, I am still working to the mid August deadline,
4 May 2014 – Brakes Trust submits formal objection
The consultation period for the Gypsy and Traveller sites is drawing to a close, and the Brakes Trust has submitted its objection to the New Windmill Ground being selected as a G&T site.
You can read the Trust’s full representation here:
Brakes Trust GT Objection
The closing date for responses is midnight tomorrow, Monday 5 May, so there is still time to have your say. You can make a representation either by email or using their online form – see here.
If you have not made an objection already then we would urge you to do so.
Finally thank you to everyone who has worked with the Trust team on this issue, either directly or by responding to the engagement process.
4 April 2014 – Report on meeting with Leamington FC board
On Monday 31 March, the full Trust board (plus Sec) met with the Leamington FC board (plus Sec). The meeting was positive; the response from the fan engagement was communicated and all queries from members were raised. The Brakes Trust thanks the LFC board for this opportunity for discussion.
Minutes from meeting with the Leamington FC board, 31 March 2014. 8pm
|Attendance for the Brakes Trust:
Adrian Barton (Chairman)
Nick Hallworth (Secretary)
|Attendance for Leamington FC:
Jim Scott (Chairman)
Roger Austin (Secretary)
Following introductions, Adrian Barton communicated the results of the fan engagement exercise that most people felt the need for more information, with 64% undecided.
The club board will be objecting to the selection of the NWG as a potential G&T site, and expressed that they were in a similar position to the fans. They are trying to get more clarity and are meeting the council regularly. They are sensitive to concerns with regard to the history (of losing ground previously), and explained that the council are still looking at options.
At this time, the club cannot rule anything in or out with respect to ground ownership because nothing has been proposed at the moment. But that any facility has to be completely within Leamington FC’s control (for example with regard to revenue streams). If a proposal comes through then the issue will be immediately put to shareholders and indeed all stakeholders – the full football club. Any potential new ground would need to be 99 year lease or freehold.
Jim Scott stated that it has been the club’s intention from day one to hold an open meeting when a situation is known, but at this time there is no proposal and situations may change. Over the last few years a number of sites have been visited and there has been a lot of dialogue with WDC. The G&T issue and the issue of any potential move are not necessarily linked. Russell Davies expressed that it is not the case that one won’t happen without the other.
Adrian Barton queried the options of developing the NWG instead. Jim Scott and Russell Davies explained that they had investigated buying more land over the last 4 years, and is ongoing.
Adrian Barton said that one of the fans’ biggest fears was compulsory purchase of the ground. Jim Scott said that his understanding was that there is no intention (from the council) to use the compulsory purchase powers. This fan concern is also linked with concern over timescales, but the club cannot see a deal being proposed in which groundshare would happen.
Peter Davis queried whether the situation (of the potential of G&T site where the NWG is) could be used to the club’s advantage, with regard to land purchase and/or lifting covenants. Russell Davies responded that the club are in discussions with other parties and they are seeing where things stand.
Peter Davis and Nick Rogers commented that a lot of people don’t know what’s going on and that the fear of losing the ground is understandable. The club board agreed. Nick Rogers expressed the hope that communication will be ongoing.
Meeting ended 9pm.
3 April 2014 – Update on Brakes Trust position
The Trust board met last Thursday and decided unanimously to oppose the selection of the NWG as a G&T site. The objection will be based on the loss of the NWG for the club, fans and community. (Relating to “Availability of the site (including impact on the existing uses on the site)” in the list of selection criteria on the consultation form). Once the Trust’s submission has been written and submitted it will be posted here.
Some Trust board members have already attended a public consultation whilst others will attend the session at Acre Close Community Centre, Whitnash, on Saturday.
The full Trust board met with the full Leamington FC board on Monday evening and a report on this meeting will be posted here.
17 March 2014 – Consultation update
Warwick District Council have now published the consultation documents and timetable on their website and the documents are also available in hard-copy form by calling in to the Council Headquarters at:
The timetable for the “drop-in sessions” is:
|Council Offices, Riverside House, Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa (unstaffed)||Friday 21 March 2014||08:45 – 16:45|
|Harbury Village Hall, South Parade, Harbury (a joint event with Stratford District Council)||Monday 24 March 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
|Bishop’s Tachbrook Sports and Social Club, The Meadow, Kinglsey Road, Bishop’s Tachbrook||Tuesday 25 March 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
|Sainsburys, Saltisford Warwick||Wednesday 26 March 2014||16.15 – 19.15|
|Hatton Village Hall, Birmingham Road, Hatton||Thursday 27 March 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
|Radford Semele Community Hall, 4 Godfrey Close, Radford Semele||Tuesday 1 April 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
|ASDA, Chesterton Drive, Royal Leamington Spa||Thursday 3 April 2014||16.30 – 19.00|
|Barford Memorial Hall, Church Street, Barford||Friday 4 April 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
|Whitnash Community Hall, off Acre Close, Whitnash||Saturday 5 April 2014||11.00 – 14.00|
|Hampton Magna Community Centre, Field Barn Road, Hampton Magna||Tuesday 8 April 2014||16.30 – 19.30|
15 March 2014 – Consultation update
Warwick District Council will be holding a public consultation drop-in session at Whitnash Community Hall on Saturday April 5th from 11am to 2pm. We’ll update this post with news on other sessions as they are announced.
Earlier this week, Leamington FC published a letter from Chris Elliott of WDC which directly addressed a number of the issues which we had put to him. Link
10 March 2014 – Peter Davis on the radio
The Trust’s Vice Chairman Peter Davis was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio this evening talking about the ground issue. If you missed it you can listen to it here (at the top of the show, about 6 minutes in):
9 March 2014 – Interim feedback
The Trust would like to thank everyone who has already responded to our request for opinions on the NWG site issue. The quantity has been very good, with a large number of lengthy and detailed responses. There is still time to send in your thoughts if you haven’t done so already, using the contact form below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The overwhelming sentiment from the engagement process was a desire for more information. Largely, opinions were not definitive and fans felt it to be impossible to draw conclusions. Therefore at this time the Trust position remains the same.
It was agreed by the Trust board that the next steps would be engagement with the Council and a meeting with the club board which is already in the pipeline. Following a review of the responses already received, the Trust spoke with Chris Elliott, Chief Executive at Warwick District Council. A report from that discussion will follow shortly and a meeting with WDC is planned.
At each step of this process the Trust board are committed to keeping members and the wider fanbase up to speed on any developments and information as they arise. Thanks once again for your feedback and if you haven’t already contacted us then we urge you to do so.
5 March 2014 – Update on consultation dates
We have learnt that the consultation period will be from 17th March to 5th May.
2 March 2014 – Fan engagement
Yesterday at the Stockport match the Trust distributed around 600 leaflets to the arriving home supporters requesting feedback over the current issues on the NWG’s future. The Trust board want to engage with as many fans as possible over this very important issue, and request that everyone takes a minute to tell us how they feel at the moment.
Here’s a copy of the leaflet which was handed out. You can send your feedback using the form at the bottom or email email@example.com
Many thanks to all of those who have responded already. Your comments are greatly appreciated.
Comments or questions are welcome.