Agenda item

21/00931/FUL Thurrock Football Club, Ship Lane, Aveley, Essex RM19 1YN




The report was presented by the Major Applications Manager, who started by updating Members with the following housekeeping items which included:


  • One additional objection from a member of the public who raised concerns about traffic pollution, excessive noise
  • There was letter received from one of the Aveley Ward Councillors, Councillor Pearce. Although it was noted that the site was actually within the West Thurrock and South Stifford Ward.
  • Email from Councillor Churchman who agreed with the raised by Councillor Pearce.
  • Emails regarding concerns of traffic, Green belt flood risk and HGV movements
  • A letter from the Planning Agent



The Chair sought clarification that when comparing to a similar application like Tilbury football club, officers were saying because the Ship Lane Stadium was previously developed there could be a scenario where developers could reapply with a PDI centre and on the basis the application could be up for approval.


The Major Applications Manager commented when Members were presented with an application back in January which was for the consideration for Tilbury football club and which was judged on its merits, that too was a Green Belt site for refusal, however it proposed residential development and a new stadium with a 3G pitch. He continued to explain the current applicant had said they could have a fallback position whereby if the application were unsuccessful they could make a new application in the form of a PDI facility on the site of the existing stadium and as long as there would be no greater impact on the existing site it could be policy compliant with paragraph no. 149 of the NPPF.


The meeting was adjourned at 7.24pm for technology issues to be resolved. The meeting recommenced at 7.37pm.


Following questions from Councillor Little Members heard how the applicant had provided officers a plan showing an idea of how the proposed width restriction and bus lane would work. In relation to the highway the plan did show some localised widening of Ship Lane to facilitate the bus lane, however this would be subject to further detailed design, and the applicant entering into a section 278 agreement with the Council to facilitate those works. The Chief Highways Engineer commented that Members should be confident that if agreed the layout of the bus lane and width restriction would be to the Councils design standards, and the applicant would then have to offer it up for adoption with the council as it would form part of the Highway. The Chief Highways Engineer continued to advise with regards to the route and vehicles entering into Aveley village, as part of officer’s comments they had recommended subject to a section 106 agreement there would be no material impact in the village. 


The Committee heard there was quite a substantial amount of PDI and car storage which had been permitted at Purfleet and as suggested there were new access arrangements as part of that package of schemes. Works had started in terms of diversion works on the network, although as yet section 278 agreement which was required to facilitate the roundabout was yet to be finalised. Members were advised in respect of the Purfleet port there didn’t appear to be any long-standing issues with regard to the PDI operations on that site.


The Committee agreed to suspend standing orders at 8.28pm to allow the agenda to be completed.


Councillor Halden remarked there was a huge amount of weight on the argument of Green Belt land which he understood, however the weight he felt was not being attributed for things like stopping the HGVs running through Ship Lane and to restore the football club back to be used by the local community. He continued he felt the weight to be attached to the creation of jobs was a subjective judgement and any form of employment growth whether it was one job or 1000 jobs was good for local residents.


Councillor Piccolo sought clarificationon the turnaround facility as to whether HGVs wouldn’t be able to pass through it. He continued by commenting he thought there had been a consultation with local residents and the outcome was they would prefer a roundabout to allow easy flow of traffic.


The Chief Highways Engineer confirmed that the Council undertook a consultation in 2019 where there were five options to try and mitigate the harm of HGV movement on Ship Lane. The one scheme that came out on top in terms of the most resident support was for a roundabout option at the junction but that did incorporate a bus lane within it, so the idea was to have a width restriction with a suitable turnaround facility for HGVs to be able to turn round and go back should they still come off junction 31 and progress up Ship Lane which was one of the overriding problems.


Speaker Statements were heard from:

·         Teresa Webster, Resident – in objection

·         Julian Sutton, Agent– in support.


During the debate the Chair of the Committee stated he felt if Members were minded to vote to reject the application, it could be a lost opportunity for sports provision in the borough. He continued that in terms of HGV's, realistically, a bus lane with camera could solve the problem and if it was the case then it could potentially save the Council up to £1million.


Councillor Kelly observed the application was £7 million of private investment from American firm who could deliver jobs for local people and although he understood the concerns over the environment he felt he could support the application.


Councillor Halden stated he was happy to second the application for approval. He said listening to the debate, he didn’t see employment development on the site as particularly harmful. He continued by mentioning HGVs were a known problem but there was a solution in place and it was known there was  problem with the lack of sports clubs again a solution was presented.  Councillor Halden commented he felt the application provided tremendous benefits which out weighted the negative.


Steve Taylor commented he had heard Members comments but overall the application was inappropriate in the Green Belt. He reminded the Committee of officers commented about the risk of flooding from the Thames and the impact it could have on the site.


Councillor Fletcher mentioned he felt it was important that Members remembered the indisputable downside of the application which was the loss of Green Belt land, which couldn’t be retrieved.  As far as the discussion of HGV he was left neutral as he wasn’t convinced the suggested mitigation would stop the clogging up of Ship Lane.


Councillor Little remarked she had listened to all the debate and she didn’t feel the application was acceptable on Green Belt land and she agreed with other Members that there would be other areas better suited for need of the application.


Councillor Watson stated she was not going to support the application. She continued by commenting she felt the fact the site was located in the Green Belt outweighed so much more of losing it to an industrial company. Councillor Watson further commented that in terms of the HGV's, she thought it would be too much going through a small area of the borough.



The Vice-Chair proposed officers recommendation to refuse planning permission and was seconded by Councillor Piccolo.


FOR: (7) Councillor Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair), Terry Piccolo, Gary Byrne, Georgette Polley, Mike Fletcher, Sue Little and Lee Watson


AGAINST:  (2) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair) and James Halden




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