Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council’s Planning Committee had recently met, and held a special meeting, to discuss a planning application relating to the Stratfield Leisure Centre, 53, Gatcombe, Great Holm for the demolition of the existing Leisure Centre and erection of 5 detached houses.
The Parish Council at its meeting held last night agreed the submission by the Planning Committee, To Milton Keynes Councils Planning Department, and is fully reproduced below for your information:
Re: 13/02030/FUL STRATFIELD PARK LEISURE CENTRE, GREAT HOLM
Demolition of existing Leisure Centre and erection of 5 detached houses.
Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council have several serious concerns about the proposed development for you take into account when reaching a decision. We request that changes are made and conditions applied to address these issues.
Due to its prime lakeside location this development, if permitted, will have the greatest visual impact on Great Holm and Lodge Lake since they were created around 30 years ago. It is vitally important to preserve the character of this area, which is highly valued by both local residents and those from further afield. Lodge Lake is currently in a tranquil setting and is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife, providing a lovely facility for walking, jogging and other leisure activities.
If it is no longer viable to continue running this facility as a leisure centre, Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council would not want to see the site fall into decay, becoming an eyesore.
Height of houses
Plots 3, 4 and 5 have living accommodation on 3 floors. There are no similar properties in the area and all existing housing is further away from the lakeside footpath. The properties currently nearest to the lake are bungalows. This makes the third floor of these proposed houses unacceptable and they will not relate well to the surrounding environment. This is exacerbated in plots 4 and 5 as these houses are on sloping land with the section of the houses having a third floor being on the highest ground. Careful consideration must be given to the permissible ridge heights for these three houses, on plots 3, 4, and 5 in order to reduce their impact on the lakeside scene, the ridge heights should be equivalent as to the properties which are of a similar distance to the lakeside edge.
Protection and Maintenance of Landscaping
This development would be the only one overlooking Lodge Lake that directly borders the lakeside footpath. The landscaping on this site is therefore of vital importance so that the development integrates well with the surrounding area and its natural leafy character is retained. We ask that conditions are placed on the 1metre high evergreen perimeter hedging to ensure that it is maintained and its removal is prevented. We also ask for TPO’s to remain on or be placed on the trees in the wider perimeter of this site, in particular the Ornamental Pears on the Gatcombe border and the Willows, Limes and Ash trees on the lakeside footpath side.
We ask that conditions be placed on the post and rail boundary fencing so that it cannot be replaced with a wall or any other style of fencing or barrier at a later date. This is important because the site borders directly onto the lakeside footpath and also the grassed area of public amenity land (Village Green). Any barriers or random sections of fences erected which covered all or part of the 1 metre high evergreen hedge would have a devastating impact on the lakeside scene.
The front gardens of plots 1 and 5 adjoining Gatcombe should be either fenceless or post and rail of a low height.
Wild Life Provision
We strongly support the Countryside Officer’s request for conditions to be put in place. These being that Swift nesting bricks, House Martin nesting cups and bat roosting boxes are incorporated into the build.
One of the reasons for the refusal of the previous planning application, 12/01470/FUL, was that the applicant had failed to agree a financial contribution towards the provision of a replacement facility to mitigate the loss of this community facility. We request that a financial contribution be made to improve recreational facilities within Great Holm.
Grassed Area between the Site and Chawton Crescent (Village Green)
We request that restrictions are put in place to ensure that this area cannot be used for a site office, storage compound, parking or damaged in any way.