SOUTHAMPTON Football Club has launched a bid to retain training facilities on land in Marchwood that council planners had hoped could one day provide 70 affordable homes for local people.
The Premier League outfit has come to the end of a temporary five-year approval for the site at Parks Farm in Long Lane which was granted by New Forest District Council in October 2013.
The 6.6 hectares contain six pitches which are mainly used for youth football. The site is next to the club’s giant 8.6-hectare Staplewood training ground, where its elite players train and which already has permanent permission.
The Parks Farm authorisation was limited in 2013 because the plot was originally allocated for up to 100 homes, with 70% affordable, in NFDC’s last Local Plan which set out rules for long-term development in the area.
However, the site has not been included in the draft version of the new Local Plan for about 10,500 dwellings in the district council area from 2016-36. Space is short and hundreds of homes have been controversially proposed for green belt land outside the national park.
However, Saints are keen to secure Parks Farm for training, so this time the club is asking NFDC for permanent approval.
The application said: “The proposed development would result in the continued delivery of a high-quality football training ground which primarily caters for youth teams.
“Furthermore, the council has previously acknowledged there is limited scope to locate facilities elsewhere, away from the site in the Marchwood area.”
It added: “The application would not have an adverse effect on neighbouring properties by virtue of outlook or loss of privacy or general noise and disturbance.”
An NFDC planning briefing said it was “uncertain” whether the site would be carried forward for housing in the new Local Plan or whether it would be freed up.
It also advised: “Proposals should not cause unacceptable effects on adjoining amenity by reason of visual intrusion, overlooking and noise.
“The car parking area and structures within the site are well screened by existing trees and vegetation around the perimeter of the site.”
NFDC is scheduled to make a decision by the end of January after the deadline for public comments on 9th December.