London Irish rugby centre and 200 homes approved in Sunbury
LATEST proposals for a multi-million pound rugby centre and more than 200 homes in Sunbury have been approved.
London Irish Rugby Club is set to build a new 'Centre of Excellence' at Hazelwood Golf Course after Spelthorne Borough Council's planning committee granted approval.
The club's proposals for 206 homes, including a care home, and a new neighbourhood park in The Avenue, Sunbury, were also approved at the meeting.
London Irish said the £10 million investment into the centre will bring more jobs, affordable housing and better sports facilities to the borough.
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Andy Martin, London Irish chief executive, said he was delighted with the news.
He said: "It's great news for London Irish and it's great news for the community."
The centre will include five full-sized pitches, including a '3G' synthetic turf pitch. Three of the pitches will be floodlit.
Around 800 children in the club's junior academy will benefit from 12 junior pitches. The pitches will also be available to schools and community groups.
The proposals were approved on Thursday (June 21) but were made subject to a number of conditions, including allowing the community use of the club facilities.
Two earlier applications were refused by the Council in 2010 and dismissed at appeal on October 24, 2011.
The most recent plans for the rugby centre led to 101 letters of objection being received by the council.
John Howlett, of The Avenue, said he feared the plans for the rugby centre would "destroy" Hazelwood golf club in Croysdale Avenue.
He added: "This will have a huge negative impact on local residents and community and will increase traffic, noise and will disturb residents at weekends with shouting parents."
Sarah Lee of Manor Lane was among those who objected to the housing development.
She said: "As a local resident, I feel that we are being overwhelmed with the new developments, and quite simply, fear that the area will not cope with such a large influx of new residents."
But at its meeting last week, the planning committee said the revised plans would create less overdevelopment than previous applications.
Councillor Richard Smith-Ainsley, chairman of the planning committee, said: "I am convinced that these schemes are as good as it gets for the Borough.
"It provides London Irish with a good outcome and residents will have far less over development and intrusion than faced under previous proposals.
"The Avenue scheme, which is predominantly family housing, will be far more in keeping with the surrounding area. I am grateful to all those who have played their part in ensuring that logic and good sense has prevailed to ensure the best outcomes for these controversial applications."
London Irish said it hoped the new rugby centre will be completed by the end of the 2014 rugby season.
Building the housing scheme can only start once the club has moved from its site in The Avenue to Hazelwood Golf Course.
Mr Martin added: "We recognise that our plans will have a huge impact on our local community and therefore we will continue to work closely with our neighbours and Spelthorne Borough Council to ensure we deliver something that everyone can be proud of."