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Consultation re proposed Artificial Grass Pitch Area

(Picture above just an example of a 3G facility)

Public Consultation on the proposed Replacement of an existing Multi Use Games Area with a new full size Artificial Grass Pitch, Fencing and Floodlighting at the Recreation Ground, Barnet Wood Lane in Ashtead closing on Sunday, 23 July 2023.

The vision of Ashtead Football Club (AFC) is to develop a new full size all-weather football pitch surrounded by a fence and floodlighting at Ashtead Recreation Ground to replace the existing Multi Use Games Area and adjacent grassland. The development has been supported by the Football Foundation who in 2019 identified a shortfall of football facilities throughout Mole Valley. AFC currently has 605 members aged 4 and upwards. 80% of all members are within walking or cycling distance from the football club.

AFC state that once the new facility is built those other organisations wishing to make use of it would then have to apply for available time slots and pay a fee.

The Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) Development Management Committee (DMC) approved the football club's original planning application MO/2020/2167 for the new sports facility in on 21st June 2021, the application was submitted in December 2020. The permission actually expires at the end of July 2024 unless a material operation to implement the permission is carried out before that date then it remains “live” forever. The committee who decided the permission inevitably came from across the Mole Valley District,

MVDC who manage the Ashtead Recreation Ground has yet to make a decision about whether to permit the development following the results of this consultation process. This development must then be approved by Fields in Trust who champion and support our parks and green spaces.

The primary concerns for this development are the following:

The planning application does not state which materials will be used for the pitch construction. For AFC to comply with FIFA regulations a 3G pitch would be needed however an investigation has been started by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) into the environmental impact of this type of pitch. This has also been recognised by Sports England as a concern. The European Commission statement in September 2022 has recommended a ban on the future sale of intentionally added microplastics which includes rubber infill used in 3G pitch construction. This statement was released after the original filing date of the planning application.

Mole Valley District Council has been petitioned to re-examine the entire proposal due to the petition receiving more than the minimum 800 votes required.

The proposed development would permanently restrict free access to 2835 square metres within a perimeter fence. This would also reduce the space available for Ashtead Village Day, arranged by the Rotary Club, which generates about £25,000 yearly for good causes. Ashtead Village Day also helps raise funds more than £25,000 for about 125 charities. The DMC did not state that they took this into consideration when reviewing the planning application.

It goes without saying that this is a controversial issue within our village. Please participate in the official survey so that MVDC can take as many of your views into consideration.

The survey can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/AshteadAGP/

Please note this survey closes on Sunday the 23rd of July 2023.

Residents can also provide feedback by emailing AshteadConsultation@molevalley.gov.uk.

and all written comments should be sent to:
FAO: SLT
Mole Valley District Council
Pippbrook
Dorking, Surrey
RH4 1SJ

Relevant Information:

AFC’s Planning Application

https://planning.agileapplications.co.uk/mole/application-details/117386

MVDC’s own Q&A:

https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/home/council/council-land-property/ashtead-artificial-grass-pitch-consultation 

Fields in Trust:

https://www.fieldsintrust.org/

FIFA’s condition for the use of artificial football pitches by football clubs in various leagues and competitions:

https://footballfoundation.org.uk/3g-pitch-register#faqs-section

The position of Sports England and others on 3G Pitches is as follows:

https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/facilities-and-planning/planning-for-sport/position-statement-on-3g-pitches

 

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