Update on football pitches at Lime Avenue

We've had a considerable number of questions about the football pitches at Lime Avenue, and the delays to their completion. We thought we ought to provide this short update on the background and current state of affairs :

The approval for the planning application which included provision for the football pitches was published on 24.07.2012. It contained the following condition:

25 Prior to commencement of use of the sports pitches hereby approved, temporary changing facilities shall be provided on site which permit a minimum of four teams and officials to change at any one time and which incorporate changing areas, toilets and showers which meet standards contained within Sport England's technical guidance note 'Pavilions and Clubhouses' (1999). REASON: to ensure satisfactory changing facilities are provided as a temporary measure on this site, pending construction of permanent facilities.

Planning conditions attached to planning permissions run with the land, i.e. if the ownership of the land is subsequently transferred from one party to another, the conditions and obligations are also transferred.

In the case of these football pitches, the land is held by Persimmon Homes. Under the wider arrangements around that planning permission, when everything to do with the development is complete, the land is due to return to Audley End Estate (AEE), which will then immediately pass it to Saffron Walden Town Council (SWTC).

It is therefore the responsibility of Persimmon Homes to meet condition 25, so as to complete the development. If Persimmon Homes passes the land to AEE without fulfilling the requirements of 25, then it will fall to AEE to meet condition 25. Likewise, if AEE then passed the land on to SWTC with condition 25 still unmet, it would then fall to SWTC i.e. the taxpayer to meet the costs of fulfilling condition 25. Clearly it would not be in the interests of (or fair to) AEE or SWTC/the taxpayer to take on the financial obligations that properly belong to Persimmon Homes.

The commitment to fund this essential community infrastructure was clear from the start of the development and Persimmon Homes will have factored this into their costings for the development. Since the development is otherwise complete and Persimmon Homes has sold all the properties it built, the infrastructure has effectively been paid for, and now Persimmon Homes must deliver it.

SWTC, UDC as the planning authority and AEE are working jointly to put pressure on Persimmon Homes to meet condition 25 so that the football pitches can be used as agreed in 2012.


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Posted on 11/09/2020