At the planning appeal hearing one of the arguments we made to demonstrate a lack of need for the Urnfield development was the fact that Tormead already had planning permission for a floodlit Multi Use Games Area on site at the school.
Sure, a MUGA is smaller than a full sized hockey pitch, so not suitable for fixtures, but with floodlights it allows winter training and skills practice. The permission also included a 50m running track, netball courts and shot put area.
Tormead’s Head and the Director of Sport assured the Inspector – and we all heard this – that they were not going ahead with the MUGA+ plans, because this development onsite no longer suited their needs (hence they needed the Urnfield instead). The Inspector reflected this information in her appeal decision (para 17, in case you’re interested).
Apparently things have changed because today we discover that Tormead IS going to build the floodlit MUGA plus track, netball, long jump, shot put, etc. onsite after all.
If the Planning Inspector had known that, might she have come to a different conclusion about Tormead’s “need” for the Urnfield?
I would never suggest any underhand tactics or that anyone misled the planning inspector. I’m sure there is a simple explanation for this quite dramatic change of plan – perhaps a reassessment of capacity, new investment opportunity, etc.
So I will leave it to you to wonder what has changed in the last 8 months. Or maybe to wonder whether the floodlit MUGA was going to happen all along.