Ashby Ivanhoe FC get the green light to carry out improvements at Lower Packington Road ground

By Graham Hill

8th Feb 2024 | Local News

Ashby Ivanhoe FC. Photo: Supplied
Ashby Ivanhoe FC. Photo: Supplied

Ashby Ivanhoe FC have been given planning permission to make improvements to their clubhouse as they aim to improve facilities at the NFU Ground in Lower Packington Road.

North West Leicestershire District Council's planning committee discussed the scheme at Tuesday's meeting in Coalville.

The application was 'called in' by Labour councillor David Bigby, while Ashby councillor, Carl Benfield, spoke about the liaison committee that has been set up to provide a line of communication between the club and local residents.

A representative of the residents also spoke out against the plans, citing highways issues caused by 'a 135 per cent' expansion of the club which said would cause more traffic and visitors.

But a number of councillors saw no reason to refuse the application, or delay it further by a deferral.

The club's application is for works to an existing clubhouse, to include raising the roof height to provide first floor accommodation, dormer windows and a balcony with the erection of a single storey building to provide changing room facilities, retention/extension to terrace stand and new pathway.

In support of the project, councillors were told that the clubhouse had not been improved for more than 70 years.

An artist's impression of the Ashby Ivanhoe ground and clubhouse. Images: Ashby Ivanhoe FC/David Granger Architects/NWLDC

It was also noted that a recent meeting saw council leader, Cllr Richard Blunt, announce that the improvement of sporting facilities in Ashby was being planned.

Cllr Benfield said: "The Town Council is disappointed that the club has been slow in reaching out to the local community to ensure concerns are met.

"There are two concerns, over the access to and from the ground, and the level of noise created by the club, particularly with the enhanced facilities in this application."

But the agent for the club, Martin Cooper, said: "The existing clubhouse was built in around 1950, it's desperately in need of improvement.

"The planned work will benefit the local community to enjoy, within the last week, that has been a commitment from the council going forwards.

"But the objections raised do not relate to this specific applications. The wider issues are being tackled by the liaison group."

But Cllr Bigby said he agreed the club provided 'fantastic' sporting facilities.

However, the Labour councillor said most people supporting the application did not live in the immediate area and access to the site remained a concern.

He said: "This is a problem of the club's own making, probably due to a combination of poor advice or undue haste in making their submission.

"This could be resolved without extra cost to the club or undue delay."

But Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Wyatt said: "I can't see what any further delay would achieve, we should be backing the club."

Labour councillor John Legrys added: "I saw a video of vehicles leaving the ground, and it's not good, I can see why residents have objected. It's not good planning."

     

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