Opinion divided over plans for new Stamford AFC stadium

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PLANS for a new 1,500-seat stadium for Stamford AFC have been approved.

PLANS for a new 1,500-seat stadium for Stamford AFC have been approved.

The club and the Burghley House Preservation Trust applied to South Kesteven District Council to build a 1,500-seater stadium in Ryhall Road.

They also applied to to demolish the Daniels’ current stadium in Kettering Road and build 54 homes there and 20 affordable homes in Barnack Road.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the district council’s development control committee voted to approve the stadium plans and the application for housing in Barnack Road.

The application for Kettering Road was deferred so planning officers could ask the developers to make sure there are no three-storey homes overlooking Stamford station.

The club and the trust say all three applications need to be approved for each to be viable. They are all outline applications, so more detailed plans will need to be submitted before work can begin.

The Evo-Stik Division One South club says it needs to move from its current ground, which it has occupied since 1896, to make use of more modern facilities and meet league requirements.

The new stadium site would include an all-weather training pitch, clubhouse, function rooms and office space and about 100 parking spaces. The car park would be used for car boot sales up to 40 days per year.

New access would be created from Ryhall Road and a 30mph speed limit would be extended from Stamford, past the site towards Ryhall.

A number of people spoke at the meeting, both in favour of and against the plans.

Concerns were raised about parking in Barnack Road.

The trust’s planning consultant, Mark Flood, countered argument about Barnack Road, saying: “This is a sustainable site, hugely accessible and almost entirely vacant.

“ It is to the benefit of the town that its development is brought forward.”

District councillor and mayor of Stamford, Coun Bob Sandall, proposed the committee refuse the Barnack Road application, calling it “over-development.”

He said: “You don’t want affordable housing in one place.

“We don’t need more housing, we need more jobs. We need to put up industrial units.”

Councillors were told they would have to submit detailed reasons for refusal if they voted against and parking and over-development would not be valid reasons if the application went to appeal.

The committee voted to approve them on the condition that a seasonal environmental study was carried out.

Four residents living near the site for the new stadium said it would affect traffic, create noise and light pollution and create a danger for pedestrians walking along the narrow Ryhall Road footpath.

They questioned the impact of having another stadium close by, Blackstones Sports and Social Club in Lincoln Road.

Phil Williams, of Losecoat Close, said the Ryhall Road residents’ association had a petition with more than 200 signatures opposing the stadium.

He added: “This is open countryside and has to be judged on that basis. It is not an urban or industrial location.

“The developer’s comments about noise pollution are subjective and have been grossly underestimated.

“A development of this size is bound to have a massive detrimental effect on the families nearby and will change the area forever. We already have a football club close by, why would we want another? It will disrupt the lives of many for the financial gain of few.”

Lincolnshire county and Stamford town councillor John Hicks, who lives in Ryhall Roavd, said he was in favour of more sporting facilities in Stamford, but the stadium was in the wrong location.

He said: “Unless serious attention is given to infrastructure in the whole area then it could become a dangerous site.”

But Burghley Estates director David Pennell said the trust had changed the application to mitigate the effect of noise and light and would also improve the footpath on Ryhall Road as a condition of approval.

The stadium would have been right next to houses in Losecoat Close, Turnpole Close and a number of other streets. But the trust changed the plans to include a buffer of land between the houses and the stadium. It will also be built into the hill to lessen the visual impact and reduce noise.

Chairman of Stamford AFC, John Burrows, said: “This development is incredibly important to the club and the role it plays within the community.

“The future development of young players is not only the lifeblood of the club but also the biggest contribution to the wider community. The stadium will provide modern facilities to replace those more than 100 years old. It will be sad to leave but the club must move on.”

First team player Seth Burkett said the new ground would help more youngsters get involved with sport.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Burrows said: “The club is delighted that, at last, we have planning consent to develop our new ground and we look forward now to working with Burghley Estates and their architects on the detail design of the ground.”