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Re: Planning Application reference 2021/09467/PA
I am writing to you regarding Planning Application 2021/09467/PA (Birmingham Wheels Park).
I wish to object to the application, based on the notice posted on the gates of the park, as it is unclear whether the protections in place for the sports and recreational arenas, and associated infrastructure (car parks, roadways, buildings including administrative offices and toilets etc), will be fully adhered to by the applicant.
As you will be aware the sports and recreational activities at Birmingham Wheels Park are fully protected within the Birmingham Development Plan and the Bordesley Area Action Plan.
As confirmed by the Birmingham City Council’s Monitoring Officer Suzanne Dodds:
“The Birmingham Development Plan recognises the importance of the wheeled sports facilities at Birmingham Wheels Park and the need to support their continued operation through equivalent or better quantity and quality replacement provision elsewhere and/or consolidation on site in conjunction with any redevelopment of the Birmingham Wheels site”.
Furthermore, the existing sports and recreational facilities at Birmingham Wheels are fully protected within the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 97):
“Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless: a) an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or b) the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or c) the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the benefits of which clearly outweigh the loss of the current or former use”.
I note the existence of affidavits from all operators of sports and recreational activities at the park that their facilities were in excellent operational condition and being used at almost full capacity at the point that the Council refused to extend the lease on the park. The park was the busiest in its history – operating 7 days a week, with over 100,000 unique users a year. Far from being surplus to requirements – the park is a vibrant and hugely important community asset.
Please do not allow this planning application to be approved without full assurances from the applicant that the clear legal protections in place within the National Planning Policy Framework for sports and recreational facilities will be adhered to, and that no sports or recreational infrastructure will be damaged as a result of planning approval.
In the case that any damage to the fabric (of the tracks, lighting, associated buildings, roadways and any other structures whatsoever) occurs, then the same must be restored to an equivalent or better condition – as required within the NPPF.
Furthermore, please note that the operators and users of the park await information concerning their consolidation on site, presumably to be included within any future planning application, or details of “replacement provision elsewhere” as required within the Birmingham Development Plan.
Thank you for your consideration of these important planning issues.
A User and Friend of Birmingham Wheels