Hockey club flats plan looks set to fail

By James HoreA SPORTS club's application to build apartments on land it owns to fund a much-needed new pavilion looks set to be rejected. Braintree Hockey Club wants to build 24 apartments on its ground in Church Street, Bocking, with money from the development being ploughed back into new facilities.

By James Hore

A SPORTS club's application to build apartments on land it owns to fund a much-needed new pavilion looks set to be rejected.

Braintree Hockey Club wants to build 24 apartments on its ground in Church Street, Bocking, with money from the development being ploughed back into new facilities.

However, if the development gets the go-ahead, the existing clubhouse would be demolished to make way for the homes.


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The existing facilities are in need of repair, with the club concerned that if they are not replaced, they will deteriorate beyond economic repair.

Club officials said its future success depended on the replacement of the clubhouse and the playing surface.

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They added that was achievable by giving the go-ahead to the plan for 23 two-bedroom apartments and one one-bedroom apartment.

The application covers about one-fifth of the 4.2-hectare site owned by the club. A new pavilion-style clubhouse would also be built with 50 car parking spaces and 50 more in an overspill area.

Braintree District Council has received 35 letters against the proposal, with some claiming the sale of the land did not guarantee the club would be able to function in years to come.

Other opponents said the site was meant to be used for sport and should remain that way, while some feared the development would set a precedent and lead to pressure on other land in the area.

However, letters of support received by the council said the club was in “desperate need” of better facilities to cater for up to six teams.

They added there was no grant funding available for the upgrades, leaving the apartments as the only “viable means” of paying for the clubhouse.

One letter said: “This application may cause some impact on the local community, but the benefits to such a large part of the community, to many families, to the health of those encouraged to play sport, must outweigh objections that are often more based on the fear of change than on any factual basis.”

However, council officers have recommended that the application should be refused because the site is subject to rural planning policies apply, is of “special landscape value” and there is no provision for affordable housing.

A decision will be taken by Braintree District Council on October 19.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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