Coventry City Football Club would like to provide a further update on the Higgs Centre situation...
Following the Committee meeting on 4th August, the City Council has referred the planning application for Wasps training facility at the Higgs Centre to the National Planning Casework Unit (NCPU) in Birmingham.
This is to ask whether or not the Secretary of State wants to call-in the application for his decision or to leave it for the City Council to determine.
The letter from the City Council confirms that the application is being referred to the Secretary of State because it involves development within the Green Belt.
However the letter does also set out the Planning Committee's full resolution which specifies the need to resolve the concerns that have been raised by Sport England.
It needs further information about the impact of Wasps' proposals on the use of the Higgs Centre by the Football Club's youth academy before it can reach a conclusion on whether the application is acceptable when assessed against Sport England's policies.
The full resolution of the Planning Committee was as follows:
Planning committee are recommended to resolve that they are minded to grant planning permission, subject to conditions, the Secretary of State not wishing to intervene regarding the determination of the application, and the resolution of the Sport England concerns regarding the future use of the site.
Should the Secretary of State not wish to intervene but the Sport England concerns are not resolved the application will be reported back to planning committee for further consideration.
As the football club's concerns with Wasps’ application are entirely consistent with the concerns that have been raised by Sport England, and given that Sport England is the Government's appointed statutory consultee on planning application involving the development on existing playing fields, the Club has written to the NCPU to request that the decision on whether or not to call-in the application for determination by the Secretary of State should be deferred until there has been a resolution on the concerns that have been set out by Sport England.
In the letter to the NCPU, the Club confirmed its commitment to participating in discussions with all parties including Wasps, Sport England and Coventry Sports Foundation, to establish the extent to which the facilities at the Higgs Centre can accommodate the requirements of both Wasps and the Football Club.
It is hoped that an initial meeting involving all interested parties will take place next month.
To read the full letter to the NCPU click here.