Farsley Celtic housing and ground development scheme kicked out

A housing and sports ground development scheme drawn up to help secure the long-term future of Farsley Celtic has been rejected by councillors.

The Blue Square Premier League outfit and Bellway Homes wanted permission to build 26 houses and 31 flats on part of the club's Throstle Nest ground and use the proceeds to redevelop the clubhouse, main stand, sports hall, outer pitches and car parking areas.

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A report to the council's west plans panel recommended the application be approved but the councillors voted to reject it.

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Coun Colin Campbell, panel chairman, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that members had a number of concerns, including allowing land designated as greenfield to be built on.

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He said: "Council policy is not to allow building on greenfield sites unless there is no alternative."

Coun Campbell added that the panel considered the design of the proposed homes was poor and that car parking should not be allowed to intrude on green spaces.

A petition signed by 26 people objecting to the proposal had been sent to the council, which had also received 11 letters of support.

The report to the panel said that despite Farsley Celtic's recent promotion to the Blue Circle Premier League, the club's financial position remained diifficult.

It wanted to go ahead with a development scheme to ensure its long-term future.

The report acknowledged that as an existing sport and recreation site, the land was designated greenfield and it was council policy that previously developed brownfield sites should be built on first.

It also said there was an under-provision of "affordable" housing as part of the scheme.

But it added: "However, the scheme will enable the long-term retention and improvement of a sport and recreation use on this site, with increased public access and community use, which comprises a

significant planning benefit."

Sport England and the council's sport and recreation officer supported the application.

The club does have the right to appeal against the councillors' decision and is now considering its next step.

Chairman, Andy Firbank, said: "As a football club and major community partner we are very disappointed in the decision that was reached. A large part of the area we wanted to develop is just unused land.

"Under our proposal we would put something like 1.5m into sports facilities in west Leeds."