Scottish Government planners have overturned North Ayrshire Council’s decision to block a residential development on Memorial Field, home to Ardrossan Academicals Rugby Club.
Last December the council’s Planning Committee rejected the proposal to build 21 flats on ‘green space’ at the field off Sorbie Road in Ardrossan. Saltcoats & Stevenston Independent councillor Ronnie McNicol, seconded by Ardrossan SNP councillor John Bruce, moved that the application be refused on the basis that it was “contrary to Policy ENV12 of the Local Development Plan as it would set a precedent for the incremental loss of open space”.
However, the Ardrossan Academy Memorial Field Trust, the body that had submitted the application for outline planning consent regarding the residential development, appealed the Planning Committee’s decision to Scottish Ministers.
Following an investigation by the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals, Mr Michael Shiel, a Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers, has concluded that “the proposed development accords overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would justify refusing to grant planning permission in principle”.
The Reporter’s decision means the Memorial Field Trust can now proceed with plans to create a new two-storey clubhouse on land used principally by the local rugby club. Proposals show the ground-floor of the new clubhouse would contain sports facilities, such as changing rooms and showers, while there would be a bar and function-room on the upper-floor.
Mr Shiel’s overturning of the local Planning Committee’s decision also means Memorial Field Trustees can produce more detailed plans and submit an application in relation to the development of flatted residential properties on the site opposite Ardrossan Academy.
In his report into the controversial proposal, the Scottish Government Reporter dismissed concerns expressed locally concerning houses being built on land that was originally purchased as a memorial to former pupils of Ardrossan Academy who lost their lives fighting for their country in time of war. Mr Shiel concluded such concerns were not material to a planning matter.
Certain planning-related conditions will be applied to the proposed development at the Memorial Field and public notices must be published before any construction work begins.