The Town Hall scraps seven-a-side pitch plans for Barnard Park
Council writes to Planning Inspectorate to stop inquiry
13 October, 2017 — By Emily Finch
Original plans for Barnard Park now scrapped
The Town Hall announced today (Friday) that it will scrap its controversial plan for Barnard Park which would have seen the current 11-a-side pitch, which is in a poor state, replaced by a floodlit 7-a-side artificial pitch. They now propose a new 3G 9-a-side football pitch.
The original plans were opposed by footballers and government body Sport England, so the decision was passed over to the Department for Communities and Local Government which “called in” the decision. The original plans were backed by community group The Friends of Barnard Park.
The decision on the future of the park was to be made by the planning inspectorate, a government regulator who rules on contested planning applications.
But the Town Hall wrote to the Planning Inspectorate to withdraw its application for Barnard Park today (Friday).
A new planning application including a new 3G 9-a-side football pitch will be submitted at a later date, with a full statutory consultation.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington’s environment and transport chief, said: “To ensure we can deliver a better Barnard Park without further delays, and to avoid having to spend a large amount of public money on a planning inquiry at a time of continued massive cuts by the Government, the council met with Sport England, the Football Foundation and The FA to examine if a compromise could be found.
“We are pleased that, as a result of these discussions, a plan that has the support of Sport England has emerged, which will see Barnard Park get the much needed improvements that local residents and park users want, alongside a new 3G 9-a-side football pitch. We will also bring forward plans to provide improved park facilities, with a hub building that includes new park toilets.
“This new plan to improve Barnard Park will see this precious green space improved more quickly than continuing with the Secretary of State’s public inquiry. The revised design will be based on the existing scheme, and we will of course consult residents on the new plan. We are very grateful to all the many local residents who have already given their views and feedback on the future shape of the park.”
A Sport England spokeswoman said: “We welcome Islington Council’s decision to withdraw the current planning application for Barnard Park. We look forward to working with the council and our partners on a revised planning application that will include a new artificial nine-a-side football pitch together with a management plan for its use by the community.”