Griffin Park improvements put on hold
Councillors fail to approve plans - grant money may be lost
The future of Griffin Park was thrown into doubt last night following the decision by councillors not to grant planning permission for improvements to the hundred year old stadium.
The football club had hoped to receive permission from local councillors to carry out various improvement works to the stadium, including a roof over the Ealing Road terrace and an enclosed building along the back of the New Road stand which could be used for a variety of purposes including matchday hospitality and as classrooms as part of the successful 'Playing for Success' scheme, which sees schoolchildren receive lessons in sports grounds.
If permission had been achieved then £1.7 million would have been made available to the club from the Football Foundation. However the Foundation had stated that this would only be possible if permission was granted immediately. The money may now go elsewhere.
The main sticking point concerned a Daylight Survey carried out as part of the application to see if residents in Ealing Road and New Road would lose a significant amount of sunlight if the changes were to go ahead. Residents' groups claimed that the survey was riddled with errors, making it impossible for the councillors to take its conclusions seriously.
There was also criticism aimed at the club for their lack of consultation with the residents. A New Road dweller spoke against the proposals, saying that she hoped the club would be able to enter into proper negotiation into the design of the New Road lounges. The call for genuine consultation was backed by Councillor Ron Bartholomew who told both parties to "Get talking and sort it out".
The club responded by saying that the light survey had been conducted by one of the best companies in the field and that if the residents disagreed then they should commission their own light survey.
Of the 11 councillors present, 10 voted to defer the application, meaning that it should return to the planning committee at a later date, having undergone revisions. However the potential loss of the Football Foundation grant may mean that the changes will never take place.
17 Dec 2004
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