CONCERNS have been raised over the future of much-needed sports facilities in Uttoxeter if plans for a giant wind turbine are given the go-ahead.
PJ Rhodes, secretary of Uttoxeter Cricket Club (UCC), wrote to East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee voicing his concerns over plans for a 255ft (78m) wind turbine proposed by Aggregates Industries and AGRenewables for Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath.
The application will ultimately be decided by Staffordshire County Council (SCC) but last week the borough council planning committee, which is being consulted on the plans, unanimously agreed to oppose the wind turbine.
The letter said the club and Aggregates Industries agreed a Heads of Terms agreement, which is being held by solicitors.
It is intended to be a joint venture between the cricket club, whose present lease at Uttoxeter Racecourse will not be extended beyond 2014, and the Uttoxeter Junior Football Club (UJFC), which needs suitable pitches for its 19 teams.
The combined facility is to be named Uttoxeter Sports Club.
The letter states: “You will be aware that when Aggregates applied for planning permission for extra gravel extraction on these areas, they built in their bid the proposal that the ground would be reinstated for cricket use, with no restriction on any other sports.
“Having known this, we were shocked and surprised when we were called to a meeting at the quarry last summer and shown their application for a wind turbine which was sited on the NE corner of the proposed cricket square, even though they were aware of our proposed layout beforehand.
“They did in fact then amend their layout to reposition in 40m to the north.
“We note that in the Sports Impact Assessment document asked for by SCC that they refer to UCC and UJFC being consulted.
“With respect to their application this is certainly not the case. The application layout has been totally changed around and this is the first we have seen of it.” The letter adds it could have a ‘detrimental impact’ on the ability to develop the area for sports and it would be unlikely that the club would be able to successfully apply for the grant funding required to develop the facilities.
It said: “Sufficient to say, without funding our scheme will fail and we will lose what is planned to be a much-needed, prestige sports facility in Uttoxeter which is being actively considered by the Sports Planning Group.” Tim Claxton, senior estates surveyor at Uttoxeter Quarry, said the company is certain the turbine and pitches are compatible.
He said: “We remain certain that the proposed turbine and the sports pitches can be compatible land uses and are endeavouring to speak with the cricket club regarding their concerns.
“The sports pitch layouts shown in the planning application are indicative of what could be achieved and as such are ideas for layouts and not agreed plans.
“The final layout will of course rest with the cricket club and junior football club.”