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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Maryport supermarket plans prompt fear over loss of sports land

A MARYPORT rugby official fears for the sporting community in the town if plans to build a new supermarket are given the go-ahead.

The supermarket company Lidl last month revealed a proposal to build its largest UK store at Milltoft, off Curzon Street.

A rugby pitch and two junior football pitches on the proposed development site would be repositioned within the same field.

But Paul Williamson, an official of Maryport Rugby League Club which uses the field as a back-up to its pitches on Mealpot Road, this week claimed the plans show that only one of the two pitches there will be replaced.

Mr Williamson has written to the planning agent to raise his concerns and to ask if there are plans to create another pitch elsewhere.

The current layout includes one full-size rugby pitch with two junior football pitches marked out on top of it. Mr Williamson said another area of the field was previously used as a second full-size pitch, which is where the proposed Lidl store and car park would be built.

He said he supported the application for a new supermarket but was concerned that the development as proposed would lead to the loss of a vital pitch on what he called a “community field”.

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Maryport Junior Football Club, and Ellenborough Rangers and Glasson Rangers rugby league clubs have also used the pitches.

Mr Williamson said: “As a club we support anything to keep shoppers in Maryport. Our only concern is that there are two pitches on Milltoft and on the plans there is only one. That needs looking at.

“Maryport has a lack of sports pitches, especially football. If they take one they have got to replace it.”

The Milltoft land is owned by Allerdale council which would sell it to Lidl as part of a deal being managed by Allerdale Investment Partnership.

The initiative was established to enable the council to dispose of surplus assets and deliver development opportunities.

It is hoped the development would create 30 direct jobs and construction employment. The store would be opened next year.

An Allerdale council spokeswoman said: “The site currently includes two marked-out youth football pitches and an adult rugby league pitch. If planning permission is granted these would be repositioned within the wider site, replacing like with like, and marked out more clearly.

“This would take place in advance of any building work to avoid disruption.

“We are not aware of any other pitch that is formally used on that site. There is an area of open space, adjacent to the marked-out pitches, but it isn't marked out as a playing pitch.”

A planning application will be submitted to Allerdale council by the partnership next month.

Two drop-in sessions will be held at Maryport’s Wave Centre in Maryport on Monday and Tuesday from 1pm to 7pm. Leaflets are being sent to households and businesses.

The initial consultation will end on August 27.

Have your say

"under Government and Sport England legislation, any development of sports pitches MUST see replacement pitches being provided elsewhere in the area. "

This is irrelevant and misleading. Any development of a playing field has to be referred to Sport England. They will automatically object if certain criteria are not met. One of those is if there is no provision for a replacement playing field. However this objection does not mean planning will not be passed on the site even if there is no replacement field.

Posted by john on 12 August 2014 at 15:43

In response to your comments Anne, maybe you should read the article again. It states QUITE CLEARLY that we support the development on Milltofts, but our concern is over the size of the proposed pitch, after all, it has to be big enough to play games on!! and also if the developer plans to create another football pitch elsewhere in the town to replace the one which will be built on.
At no point in the article did I say the club have objected to the supermarket, but under Government and Sport England legislation, any development of sports pitches MUST see replacement pitches being provided elsewhere in the area.
Historically there has always been two full sized pitches on Milltofts and only recently has a smaller pitch been marked out for junior football.
For the record there are only TWO community football pitches in Maryport, one on Milltofts and one adjacent to the Boys Club at Ewanringg and at last count about 4 football clubs!!
Unfortunately, the headline on the Times and Star and advertising hoardings have mislead people to think Maryport ARL objects to the development, but if you bother to read the article you can see that the opposite was said!
Once these green spaces have been built on, then that's it for future generations, whilst you yourself may not partake in sport, your children or grandchildren might, and we have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient pitches to play on

Posted by Paul Williamson on 11 August 2014 at 12:52

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