Developers asked to look again at Stafford Rugby Club homes plan
Plans to build dozens of homes on training pitches at Stafford Rugby Club have been referred back to the developer by councillors amid concerns over a lack of green space.
Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee had been advised by development officers to approve the scheme for 74 properties at Mansell Close, just east of the Stafford Castle Golf Club house.
But at its meeting on Wednesday evening the committee voted unanimously to ask developers Lovell Partnerships and Touch Developments to take another look.
Resident Hugh Lufton, 47, told councillors the proposal featured a "derisory" lack of green space and that there were concerns about 'over intensification'.
After the decision, he said: "I am staggered this ever came to the committee in this form.
"The historic rugby club has been there for years and years and people have been using the land unimpeded for play.
"I am happy with the outcome of the meeting. We are hoping there will now be a substantial increase in the provision of public open space for families and their children.
"We are desperately short in this part of Stafford of accessible green space."
Stafford Rugby Club, based nearby in Castlefields, will no longer need the land after securing planning permission to relocate to Blackberry Lane.
The site is just north of a playing field by Newport Road which has been earmarked for a 63-bed care home by YourLife Management Services and Francis Melfort William the Baron of Stafford, although that application has yet to be determined by the council.
The proposed access to the site would be close to the entrance to the Mansell Close cul-de-sac from Redgrave Drive.
There would be a small area of public open space immediately next to a water retention area.
The borough council received more than 30 consultation responses with many raising fears it will bring dozens of extra cars daily as well as claiming the access is dangerous.
Sport England also raised initial concerns about the loss of the playing fields but did not lodge a formal objection because the rugby club has secured a new site.
Councillor Geoffrey Collier, said: "74 homes means around 40 youngsters or so. They might want to kick a ball about.
"Where are they going to do that? It is over intensification if you can't find somewhere for kids to kick around a ball."
Mr Neil Cox, speaking in support the applicant, said the firm was willing to make a full contribution to off-site open space to "facilitate meaningful open space provision."