Football Club's Training Facility Receives High Court Blessing

Planning decisions often involve a delicate balancing exercise between the benefit that a development will bring and the harm that it will cause. That was certainly so in one case in which the High Court gave its blessing to a football club’s plans for a state-of-the art training facility and academy.

Construction of the two-storey facility would involve major land-levelling works and the import of 180 cubic metres of infill. The 60-acre site chosen was classified as Metropolitan Open Land and the club’s proposals had encountered stiff opposition from local people who were concerned at the loss of public recreational space. The local authority granted planning consent on the basis of an officer’s report that cited the compelling need for the facility and a lack of alternative brownfield sites.

In dismissing a campaigner’s judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court rejected claims that the council’s planning committee had been materially misled by the officer’s report. The impact of floodlighting, noise and the reduction in public access to the land had all been properly taken into account.