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A Community Stadium For North East Lincolnshire

PUBLISHED

23:00 1st November 2016

Introduction

A proposed move to a site on Peaks Parkway was first muted back in 2001.

Grimsby Town Football Club and North East Lincolnshire Council began to explore the possibilities of building a new Community Stadium on Peaks Parkway in 2012. 

The club has been searching for a site for a new home since 1994 and were knocked back in a bid to build on land in Great Coates.

Blundell Park has been the home of Grimsby Town Football Club for more than 100 years. It was built in Victorian times and is outdated and very costly to maintain and repair. The site is constrained by housing to all four boundaries, limiting potential redevelopment. 

The club teamed up with Simons Development Ltd to "investigate the viability" of using a 22.7-hectare plot off Peaks Parkway for a new stadium, which could also have community use and a retail outlet.

August 2016. Council Cabinet members confirmed Peaks Parkway as the authority's preferred location for a new Grimsby Town community stadium.

Councillors met at Grimsby Town Hall to decide on whether to take forward a recommendation to approve Peaks Parkway as "the reference site for the community stadium".

Findings of a study concluded that the Peaks Parkway site is the only site which can be considered "reasonably available" for the community stadium project at this point in time and within the development timescales required.

Planning consultant SLR announced its findings at the Cabinet meeting and councillors decided which site to take forward as the most viable option.

North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) has considered 16 sites – with a shortlist of six announced in April. Peaks Parkway is the club's favoured site.

November 2015. A shortlist of six sites was drawn up by North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) to identify the most appropriate location for a new Grimsby Town stadium.

A survey of 16 sites in the borough was undertaken by SLR Consulting on behalf of the council, and the subsequent report would be presented to the Cabinet .

The final shortlist:

Europarc
Peaks Parkway
Adjacent to Morrisons
Great Coates
Dockside (Garth Lane/Alexandra Road)
Freeman Street

February 2015. The club released a Blueprint of the masterplan for their new stadium complex. The proposals for Peaks Parkway would include car parking, a superstore and drive-thru restaurants.

February 2015. The club announced three consultation events, asking for views as part of a consultation to ensure plans to relocate to Peaks Parkway are included in North East Lincolnshire Council's Local Plan. These were held at Blundell Park and at the Peaks Parkway site itself. 

Consultation

February 2015. The club moved to try to allay residents' new stadium fears.

• Residents say there is already congestion in Weelsby Avenue

Residents already complain of waiting 15 minutes at times to exit onto Weelsby Road. This scheme will not impact on additional traffic at Weelsby Avenue, although it has the potential of diverting traffic from Oasis Wintringham School and the crematorium via a new road network which will mitigate existing problems which residents endure.

• Pedestrians will use Weelsby Avenue to visit the Community Stadium

There is no need for pedestrians to access the stadium via Weelsby Avenue. A planning condition will require the club for a time to steward the junction of Weelsby Road/Avenue, until fans are accustomed to using the new footpath along Peaks Parkway.

• How will pedestrians access the Community Stadium?

Footfall from Grimsby will access the site via an existing footpath at the very end of Peaks Lane. It's an eight to ten minute walk up and over the bridge to arrive at the site. Additionally, a new footpath will be introduced on the opposite/western side of Peaks Parkway. Footfall from Humberston and New Waltham will access the site via an existing footpath on the eastern side of Peaks Parkway. It's a 15 to 20 minute walk up and over the bridge to arrive at the site.

• Crowd noise will affect the residents of St Andrew's Hospice

crowd_noise
 
Modern stadia are designed to contain crowd noise to a much larger degree than at Blundell Park. The Community Stadium's boundary will be circa 800m away from the hospice, which resides on the opposite side of the Parkway and is lined by high hedge rows either side.

• The development will affect my house values adversely

Evidence suggests this is not the case. This same development was planned at Great Coates and known about since 1999. Nevertheless, houses continued to rise in value and sell well. Two new developments were built out and sold during the planning phase in spite of the constant fears raised by a small group. Research suggests that residential house prices actually rise substantially within the vicinity of new stadia developments.

• The scheme will cause traffic congestion

Peaks Parkway has several junctions along its length and there is no reason to think congestion will increase because of a new junction serving this development. Additionally, football matches are played when the highway is least busy and will therefore have little impact on existing users. The road will be busy for a maximum of 30 times per years, for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a game.

• Loss of open green space

This development cannot be accommodated on an available brownfield site. The enabling development and particularly houses would be taking up green belt land anyway in support for much-needed housing. Surely it is better to see some community gain from building on important open green space. Many of us will recall seeing green field built on as we grew older. It's an unfortunate consequence of the population expanding.

• Peaks Parkway is the wrong location

This is very much an opinion and we would hope those who are not yet convinced will visit the site to witness the scale and perspective and imagine how this scheme will least impact on the amenity. Additionally, the sequential site survey determined Peaks Parkway as being the only location viable to deliver this scheme to include the club's requirements and the important enabling needs at a location requiring circa 150 acres of developable area.

• Loss of allotment space

The allotment is currently less than 50 per cent occupied. There is also capacity at Weelsby Road allotments, however, it is likely that the existing site can accommodate the current users designed into the scheme. Allotments are protected by section 8 of the Allotment Act 1925 and the Secretary of State will be asked to approve the scheme to ensure there is suitable provision.

• Too close to the cemetery

There are many stadiums built near cemeteries all over the country. Bury FC are an example, they even have a stand called the Cemetery End. Hull FC are located close to a cemetery and more recently York City have achieved planning approval very near a cemetery.

• Tollbar Roundabout is congested and is at capacity

It is unlikely that our scheme will have a significant impact, if any, at this junction. NELC are aware of the current issues; ward councillors have lobbied for funds to be identified for its upgrade for several years now. It is almost certain that by the time this development comes forward that the junction will have been upgraded.

• Weelsby Road/Peaks Parkway junction is at capacity

NELC are aware of the current issues at the junction. There are some funds identified to upgrade this junction and should this scheme come forward then it is likely to be required to make a financial contribution to its upgrade.

• There can be no more junctions along Peaks Parkway
There is nothing attached to the planning permission for Peaks Parkway restricting or preventing additional junctions. Consideration is being given to determine the type of junction required to best serve the development, which will inevitably be a roundabout or a traffic light junction.

• How will fans arrive by train?

Grimsby Train Station is approximately 1.6 miles. Typically, the majority of fans no longer travel by train. However, when they do the club and police work together and coaches can be put on to transfer the fans to the ground.

• The facility may threaten King George V Stadium and the Bradley Football Development Centre

Nothing could be further from the truth. The club operates a significant community programme around the town throughout the year and block books a range of facilities in advance, preventing use by the local community. Therefore should this scheme come forward, the club will be able to grow its community programmes without needing to monopolise other community facilities.

August 2014. The club issued a statement to help to ease residents' fears regarding the club's proposed move to a new stadium on Peaks Parkway and it's potential effect on the nearby Scartho Cemetery. 

"We would like to try to ease people’s fears regarding the Scartho Road Cemetery and the club’s proposed move to a new stadium on Peaks Parkway.

“There are many examples where cemeteries are closely located, such as AFC Bournemouth, Bury FC, Chelsea FC (pictured), Plymouth Argyle FC, Watford FC, AFC Wimbledon and York City’s planned site for a new stadium.

Chelsea Cemetery

“There are no adverse findings to suggests this is to be a problem and the club is well known locally for its support to families in times of bereavement.”

December 2014. North East Lincolnshire Council announced that an independent study into the project has been commissioned.

The club were also been granted a six-month extension to the exclusivity agreement it has for the site off Peaks Parkway that has been earmarked for the development.

The study would look into the benefits a community stadium would bring to North East Lincolnshire including how the development might strengthen the local economy and what social value it could add.

May 2014. Details of the club's planned community stadium were released - highlighting that it would not just be a football stadium, but a destination to be proud of, with community facilities comprising:

14,000-seat stadium and home of GTFC.
All-weather multi-use pitches.
Health and wellbeing centre. 
Education and training centre.
Multi-sport potential for rugby, netball and cricket.
Car parking (street sports).
Grimsby Town Sports & Education Trust Centre.

It will also be a commercial enabling development comprising hotel and restaurants, petrol filling station and retail with economic benefits, 150 jobs, construction employment, inward investment of £80 million and a business centre.

The Mariners Trust produced a leaflet to answer some of the questions regarding the proposed Peaks Parkway site.

November 2013. The  football club was granted a 12-month Exclusivity Agreement meaning the club could spend another year looking into plans to build a new stadium off Peaks Parkway.

September 2013. A feasibility study will be drawn up before including new stadium proposals in the new Local Plan.

It was being drawn up for North East Lincolnshire. The initial proposal for the 22.7-hectare plot of land off Peaks Parkway was for a new stadium – which could also have community use – and a retail outlet.

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