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VV WEB FINAL April 18

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P&TGFC PLANNING APPLICATION - THE P&TGRS POSITION As Chairman of the Penn & Tylers Green Residents Society (P&TGRS) I want to set out the RS position relating to the Football Club’s floodlights planning application. Much has been said and written about this application, in various media, and it is important to remember that both the FC and the RS have a common goal - and that is to preserve and serve our community... I would firstly like to make it clear that the RS has no power to reject any planning application. That is the role of the District Council, as the Planning Authority. The RS can only comment on any planning application. This was a difficult application (to consider) because the Football Club is a very considerable success story, contributing outstanding work to our community, with youngsters, keeping them active and fit, and involving parents and many volunteers. It started as a village team playing on a single muddy pitch on a Saturday afternoon. No lights, no facilities. 40 years ago, you would hardly noticed that the Club was there. Since then it has grown steadily to some 800 members with 28 teams, with playing or training most days of the week. It's success has resulted in it being something more than a purely village Club, as many of the players and supporters are from outside Penn & Tylers Green. The Planning application came about because the FC now requires floodlights to stay in the FA Step 6 and they would like to progress to Step 5, which would require covered www.pennandtylersgreen.org.uk Village Voice April/May 2018 accommodation for 200 spectators of which at least 100 must be seated. Historically, the FC has, in good faith, claimed that its various planning applications would not result in increased activity. In 2012, the FC wrote to residents stating it would not seek floodlights. Inevitably, growing numbers have brought more games and more training with increasing impact from noise, lights and parking. If this highly successful Club was almost anywhere else, there could be no argument about supporting its application, but it is the Club's misfortune to face a combination of AONB, Green Belt, Conservation Area, Listed buildings and a no street-lighting policy. 12 years ago, a formal appraisal of the combined Penn & Tylers Green Conservation Area, was conducted, and adopted by WDC. Buildings, their architecture, history and setting were examined. The Front Common with its large pond surrounded by listed buildings and cottages, was recognised as the focal point of the village. Its careful conservation and setting matters to many people. The Historic Building Consultant concluded that there was no question that the proposed FC floodlights would be harmful to the setting of the listed buildings and the Conservation Area and that the public benefit did not outweigh that harm. The Chiltern Society, Chiltern Conservation Board, CPRE and Parish Council, all with long experience of planning applications, came to the same conclusion, and all objected to the application. Expansion has its limits and at some stage there does need to be an acceptance that further growth is not possible. Whether the RS had the backing of local residents has been questioned. The planning officer's report noted the strength of opposition to the application, but planning decisions are based on planning law and not popularity. As Chair of the P&TGRS I would like to reiterate that the RS has no power to reject this, or any other planning application, but it is entitled to an opinion. Miles Green 25

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