Unfair view of proposal

I WOULD like to respond to the letters from Jools Marley, Derek Raven (October 28) and other correspondents regarding the Rugby Club’s planning application relating to outside events.

There seems to be much confusion about planning condition 42 under which our application was made with various allegations being made that we are seeking to have this removed or varied. We are not. To quote the Planning Officer’s report to the Planning and Development Committee: “For clarification the application does not seek to “vary” the original condition; the condition allowed for the use of outdoor amplified sound provided prior approval was obtained. In other words the applicants are seeking to operate in compliance with the condition.” The condition was imposed in anticipation of us applying for such permission but allowed the Council to retain some control.

I would not expect the general public to be experts on the planning process but I feel that they have been misinformed by a number of campaigners against our application. Jools Marley, on the other hand, is clerk to both Scalby & Newby Parish Council and Burniston Parish Council and her misunderstanding of the process is less excusable. The members of those Parish Councils should have been provided with accurate and unbiased guidance, not the views of an objector.

The original application resulted in 129 letters of objection and 24 in support following a well organised campaign against the application. Many of these were based on the noise created when we hosted the St Catherine’s Hospice ‘It’s a Knockout’ event and also our rugby ‘minis’ festival which was attended by over 2,500 children and their parents. Scare stories about the future were also circulated.

In view of these objections we carefully considered our application and modified it accordingly. It is worth noting that nearly all of the objections were opposed to our original application rather than the revised version which seems to have attracted little attention.

We withdrew our application to host up to four non-rugby outdoor events each year (such as the St Catherine’s Hospice event) because it was suggested to us that as these events are not rugby related it would be more appropriate if they were subject to a separate application. It is thus perfectly fair for Graeme Young to have commented that such charity events could no longer be held under our current application which was modified because of objections received. I think this is a pity. Jools Marley can hardly have it both ways; she has objected to the noise from such events and then accused us of an “artifice” when we withdraw our application for them.

With regard to Rugby, which is of course our main concern, we significantly reduced our proposal as follows:

1 Rugby Match Days. We need a Tannoy system to be used for the purpose of crowd safety and control, management and information only. This would be limited to 1st team and ‘special’ matches only (between 13 and 18 home games per season). No music or jingles. Restricted to one hour before and half an hour after the game. We also stated that this would be at a volume limited so as not to cause a nuisance. This is difficult to define and the planning committee members expressed concern about this. We intend to submit more specific details regarding the siting of speakers and volume control for further consideration. We regard it as reasonable, however, to have a suitable Tannoy system when there can be a crowd of hundreds of people on match days.

2 Rugby Festivals and Tournaments. We are seeking permission for Tannoy announcements and musical ‘jingles’ during these events up to four times a year between 10am and 6pm. Each event would be one or two days and would exclude the period mid-May to mid-August. Examples of such events are 7-a-side tournaments and ‘mini rugby’ (ie children’s) festivals. We also intend to submit further details of the frequency and duration of ‘jingles’ as we had wrongly assumed people would understand this.

A full copy of the application and the Officer’s Report to the committee are available on the Council website.

Several of the objectors were opposed to the Rugby Club moving to our present site from the outset and continue to fight any proposal for us to operate in line with the normal activities of similar clubs. We want to have good relationships with our neighbours and to minimise any nuisance although inevitably there will be some noise generated. We are here to stay and feel that we are providing wonderful facilities for sport and recreation in Scarborough.

Richard Appleton

Strategic Development Director

Scarborough Rugby Club

(Also a Scalby resident)