‘THAT’S’ just not cricket’ is the message coming from an outraged sports club in Chobham after plans were lodged that they say would alter access to their facilities.
The White Hart pub in High Street has submitted proposals for a timber five-bar estate gate at the entrance to its rear car park – an access route the applicant allows Chobham Cricket Club to use under the terms of a private agreement.
But the plans have been blasted by cricket chiefs who robustly argue that any new installation could have a detrimental effect on their club.
Officials told Surrey Heath Borough Council: “The gate will cause a severe impact on highway safety, with vehicles reversing blindly on to High Street if they are not able to enter the White Hart car park.
“There will also be an impact on the setting of the Listed Building as an important heritage asset, with increased traffic accumulating around the entrance to the car park.”
They also say that there are alternative arrangements that have not been adequately considered by the applicant, and explained that a vital community asset could be irreparably damaged should the council approve the plans.
The club added: “The gate is highly likely to affect our successful running of the club, since its operation relies on unobstructed vehicle access from the High Street and a gate would suggest that the club was not open to members, visitors, supporters or potential new members.
“The council should be aware that the club benefits from a vehicle easement across the applicant’s car park and therefore the installation of a gate will naturally interfere with that easement – the club is taking legal advice on its options.
“Plainly planning permission and Listed Building Consent still need to be obtained. But while it is appreciated that the easement is a private matter between the club and the applicant, the club understands that the council should take into account the consequences of obstructing the club’s vehicle easement as a material consideration when determining the application.”
The applicant has previously proposed a barrier system, which was subsequently withdrawn.
Chobham Cricket Club say they have been in dialogue with the applicant and have advised that members and trustees could not endorse any form of gate, locked or unlocked.
“This decision was taken to protect the club’s easement over the land now and in the future and to ensure that the safe vehicle access between the public highway and the club remains,” a statement explained.
“The club’s planning analysis of these applications shows the applicant has not properly considered or justified the applications, with the supporting evidence in no way adequate. In these circumstances, it is clear that the only decision that can be reasonably reached by the council is to refuse these applications.”
However, Brunning & Price Ltd, operators of the White Hart, say there are no legal limitations to their plans. Francis Hill, who is Property Director for the firm, told the News & Mail: “We feel there is no real founding for the cricket club’s objection.
“The entrance will be set back away from the junction, meaning that any vehicle will be able to pull in without blocking the road. The gate will be left open during the day and closed at night to reduce the number of people who park there overnight.
“It is our car park and we would like to have it for customers. We have had to take this action because people have not been responding to the signs and notices.”