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Selby's Olympia Park plan a ‘big strain on sports’
ONE of the biggest developments in Selby ’s history faces opposition from an influential organisation which said it risked piling too much pressure on the town’s sports facilities.
Plans for the first phase of the £300 million Olympia Park scheme, which could create more than 2,500 new jobs, were unveiled this summer and Selby District Council hopes to fast-track a decision on them next month.
The plans have been submitted by BOCM PAULS Ltd which, together with Selby Farms, owns the 92-hectare site between Barlby Road and the Selby bypass where the development would take place.
BOCM’s application for its land includes 985 new homes, a primary school, pub/restaurant and food store, a new link road and a bridge over the nearby railway line.
But Sport England, which must be consulted on large-scale developments, has objected, saying that while sports pitches would not be lost, the scheme lacked other indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
In a letter to the council, Dave McGuire, the organisation’s planning manager, said the objection would be removed if the developers paid £762,000 towards “built sports facilities” – which can include sports halls and swimming pools – or prove Selby’s existing sporting bases can cope with thousands of people moving into Olympia Park.
He said the current plan “fails to meet the needs of residents” for sports facilities and could “place undue strain” on those already based in the district.
“Selby District Council has not undertaken a study into the area’s built sports facility provision, and it is not possible to assume existing facilities have the capacity to absorb the demand created by the new development,” he wrote.
“At present, the development makes no on-site provision for built sports facilities and does not acknowledge the need to make a contribution to enhance off-site provision.”
Mr McGuire’s letter said the £762,000 contribution figure could be reduced or removed if a study shows Selby’s sports facilities – which were put under added pressure by the February fire which wrecked the Abbey Leisure Centre – can meet additional demand from Olympia Park.
However, he said Sport England was satisfied five football pitches, a mini-soccer pitch, a bowling green and a community building with changing rooms, included in BOCM PAULS’ application, met playing field requirements if certain planning conditions could be met.
If the first wave of development is approved, work would start next year and the homes would be built in three phases, scheduled for completion in 2016, 2021 and 2027.
BOCM has said the scheme would cater for much of the district’s housing and employment needs on a single site.
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