Forty-seven acres of the East of England showground at Peterborough – including the arena and pavilion – could be used for the next five years for car storage.
A part retrospective change of use application has gone before Peterborough City Council planners.
East of England Showground Services Ltd who have put in the application says the remaining 76 acres at the site “is not impacted by the proposal”.
The application is described as “temporary change of use from showground and exhibition hall” to car storage and distribution with ancillary car preparation and maintenance and erection of two mobile office cabins, two paint booths/ovens and a marquee (part retrospective).
The company has submitted details of how they believe the proposed development meets planning policy requirements.
“In this context, no long term ‘harm’ will ever be caused to the longer-term operation of the showground,” says the company’s agents.
“Neither will it prejudice the considerations of development proposals that seek to redevelop part of the showground as envisaged by the council in the policy.
“Indeed, an application for 650 dwellings and a wider application for development will shortly be submitted to the council for determination.”
Lincs Town Planning Services Ltd is the agent and they say the temporary buildings proposed are some distance away from existing homes.
“Whilst visible to a few properties, they do not represent a significant visual impact as they will be viewed, mostly, against the backdrop of the existing large scale buildings that are nearby,” says the company.
“It should also be noted that the temporary buildings will only be present for a short period during the life of the temporary planning permission.
“The larger visual impact will come from the open storage of vehicles.
“This must be considered against the fact that a significant proportion of the site is already a surfaced car park and also that the number of showground events that can be held on the site is unrestricted under the ‘mother’ planning consent for the site.
“Thus, the grassed areas proposed for open car storage can be used for showground activities and so the proposed development is no worse.”
Lincs Town Planning says: “The coming and going of vehicles from the site may have some impact on the residents living closest to the points of access.
“Again, it should be noted that both the access points have no planning restrictions on them and can be used 24/7/365.
“By comparison the proposed development operates Monday to Friday, 6am to 6pm and so will have less of an impact on residents than showground activities.”
As for the impact on continued use of the showground for sports and leisure, it says the buildings and land within the application site are individually or jointly used for approximately 30 events per year.
“So, the number events is small,” it says. “For the duration of the of the planning permission (5 years) the buildings and land would not be available for events.
“However, the ‘loss’ is not a permanent one and once the temporary use ends, the land and the buildings can be used again as they have been in the past.
“There is, therefore, no permanent impact of the development proposal on the operation of the showground in the long term.”
The company adds: “Notwithstanding that the loss of 19 hectares of the showground is temporary in nature, there remains some 35 hectares of the showground which will remain free to hold events on.
“With regard to the impact on sports and leisure, the speedway stadium is unaffected by the proposal.”
Lincs Town Planning adds: “ The proposal will only see a temporary suspension of the availability of the arena, pavilion and associated building with no long-term loss.
“There remains a substantial area of the showground site unaffected by the proposal.”
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