Northants Baseball Club wins approval to install dugouts at St Crispin's playing field
Plans by a baseball team to install dugouts and fencing at the St Crispin playing fields have won the backing of councillors.
The scheme was granted planning permission on Tuesday evening (May 7) at The Guildhall by the planning committee of Northampton Borough Council.
It faced some resistance from the parish councils in Upton and Duston, and 22 residents responded, with only two in favour. Concerns were focused on the loss of open space, and potential for the dugouts to attract anti-social behaviour.
But the committee unanimously backed the proposals. Councillor Arthur McCutcheon said: “This is a recreation ground, and this is a recreational use that is entirely appropriate.”
The site, on Berrywood Road, is part of a long-established playing field, which has been in use by Northants Baseball Club and its teams, including the Centurions, for the last three years.
The pitch is adjacent to housing and the fencing - which will vary between 1.8 to five metres high - would be located more than 20 metres from the garden of the nearest houses, and up to 110 metres away from some of the houses facing the site.
Local resident Clive Rockell argued the objecting residents’ case at the meeting. He said: “The dugouts will be a magnet for these young people who will use bad language and demonstrate anti-social behaviour. These fences will have graffiti on them, and that will be the view from our house.”
But planning officers, who recommended approval, wrote in a report to councillors that the plans would not have an ‘undue visual impact’. It also added that drop down shutters would be fitted when the dugouts are not in use.
Committee member Councillor Matt Golby said: “I completely appreciate the concerns of residents, but we have to weigh up that this an established use, and we should be supporting our local groups and sports clubs to get more people active.”
And Councillor Jane Birch added: “I don’t think this will actually be as obstructive as some of the residents may think.”