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Sport England objects to Northgate Tesco plan
7:30am Wednesday 5th December 2012 in Somerset
A SPORT promotion body has objected to controversial plans to build a 24-hour Tesco store on land at Northgate in Bridgwater.
Sport England and its sister body the FA both objected to the application on the grounds that it would mean a loss of a portion of the Brewery Field, which acts as a community recreation area.
In its objection response to Sedgemoor District Council, Sport England said: “The site is used informally by the local community for recreational play.
“Sport England objects to the proposal because it is not considered to accord with any of the exceptions in Sport England’s playing fields policy and Government Policy as set out in the NPPF.”
It states that existing sports and recreational land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless an assessment shows the land to be more than what is needed, the loss would be replaced by an equivalent or better provision in a suitable location or the development is for alternative recreational provision.
The response also states that the FA would object to the loss of the site and would welcome the opportunity to look at options to mitigate it.
It adds: “There is an issue of number, access and quality of pitches in Bridgwater.”
Sport England and the FA are keen to explore with Tesco the possibility of reinstating a football pitch on the site, including toilets and changing rooms.
But Tesco says only 11% of Brewery Field would be developed, and its plans include a new children’s play area, seating areas, public art and footpaths.
It adds: “While this space is of acknowledged importance to the residents of Bridgwater, it is currently of low quality and is under-utilised.
"It is considered that the proposals will result in a significantly enhanced area of public open space with improved facilities for all sectors of the community.”
Consultation for the plans, which closed last Wednesday (November 28), received 81 letters from interested parties.