Planning errors force village cricket club to move

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Shropshire Council failed to put measures in place to prevent balls hitting a new house when it approved planning permission, forcing a village cricket club to find a new venue, according to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Members of the cricket club approached the Ombudsman after the council approved planning permission for the new home on their ground’s boundary.

The new home was so close to the wicket that both the house and anyone in the garden was at risk of being hit by stray balls.

The club decided to play its home matches at another venue and has spent nearly two seasons in exile.

It also had to fund its own trajectory report to discover what measures are needed to allow them to return home.

Ombudsman investigation

The Ombudsman’s investigation found the council did not consult with Sport England before approving planning permission. Had it done so, the Ombudsman said it is likely the council would have imposed conditions on the new home’s builders to protect the property.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, commented: “This is a stark example of how a planning oversight can have a significant impact on the community surrounding new development.

“At a time when rural facilities are being lost, and physical activity and the nation’s health are high on the country’s agenda, it is all the more important that clubs such as these remain within the communities they serve.

“I now hope the club and council can come together to put in place measures which will allow this club to provide cricket in the village for generations to come.”

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services.

In this case, Shropshire Council should meet with the club to agree the most appropriate ball-strike mitigation measure and seek the most cost-effective quote for the work. This work should be completed before the start of the 2020 cricket season, says the Ombudsman.

The council should also meet the club’s costs in commissioning the trajectory report and agree to bear financial responsibility for future maintenance of the fence. It should also offer to reimburse the club for its costs in hiring an alternative venue, the Ombudsman added.

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