Plans seen as key to a Halifax rugby union club’s ongoing viability have been approved.
The application, submitted by the company Hanson Plywood, was described as “win-win” when Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee agreed with planning officers’ recommendation that the proposals for Halifax Rugby Union’s Ovenden Park ground off Keighley Road, Halifax, be given the go-ahead.
The company, which is based on the Drakes Industrial Estate which is next to the ground will get a new warehouse with offices, allowing it to expand, while the rugby club will get enhanced facilities involving the removal, and replacement with a better, second team pitch, councillors heard.
They were told the rugby club was in financial difficulties and to remain viable needed investment, with the funds from this development going into reducing the club’s overdraft.
It would also receive some better facilities at a centre also used by other local groups including an archery club.
Seventeen letters of objection were received to the application citing concerns over access, noise and light pollution, highways and habitat concerns.
The major one was over the access route but by moving this from Holly Park Way to the existing access for the industrial estate, that was addressed, said the council’s Planning Lead, Richard Seaman.
Mr Seaman said the application involved “a kind of swap” as the relocated pitch was on land marked for mixed use – which might usually contain industrial buildings – and the warehouse site on land marked as open space, but overall the outcome of some creative thinking was a “win-win” situation, he said.
Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) raised issues of energy efficiency, including use of solar panels and electronic vehicle charging points which agent for the applicants, Roger Lee, said could be considered.
Planning officers recommended councillors approve the application because it met the council’s planning policies except for a sports pitch not usually being an acceptable use for mixed development land.
But they argued the improved facilities outweighed this.
An existing stand which was to have been removed to reduce vandalism issues will now remain but without a roof, reducing the risk of problems while retaining some standing space for supporters, said Mr Seaman.