In the News: Approving a stadium

Written by: Colin Marrs
Published on: 12 Jun 2015

Hugh Smith, Scarborough Council

Last month, Scarborough Borough Council gave the thumbs up for a new sports stadium and leisure complex that would provide a new home for Scarborough Athletic FC. Hugh Smith is major projects officer at the council.

Q. When did you first get involved in the project?

A. In 2011, we prepared development briefs for the site, along with two others the council was intending to sell to fund the project. Those briefs went out for consultation in 2011 and the process took a little longer than intended because other departments needed to make sure funding streams were in place. For the past year we have been in discussions with the developer about the shape of the planning application.

Q. What were the main challenges in dealing with the project and how did you overcome them?

A. The main two were the impact on the road network and noise impacts on nearby homes. We had an ongoing dialogue with the developer on the design, and managed to relocate a sports pitch further away from the residences.

We had to involve the county council as the highways authority and had detailed discussions with the transport consultants. We are now looking at rephrasing some traffic lights, improving pedestrian facilities and providing a new park and ride route.

Clear time pressures to get the application through and some local residents are opposed so we needed to make sure all statutory requirements are met and to make sure their concerns have been addressed as soon as possible.

Q. What was the volume of work you faced?

A. When we were preparing the development briefs we had a team of three. More recently it has been primarily myself. It has been the main aspect of my work.

Q. Is it satisfying to have got to this stage?

A. The scheme is still subject to call-in by the secretary of state, but clearly when it is a project of this sort with wider community benefits, it is satisfying. It provides improved facilities for the town that were outdated. The football team has had to be travelling to Bridlington for home games, which is 20 miles away.

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