Leading regional law firm, Howes Percival has advised Wymondham Rugby Football Club on its successful planning appeal which will enable the club to relocate to larger, purpose-built facilities.
Wymondham Rugby Football Club (WRFC) was established in 1972 with 70 members. The Club now has around 1,400 members and has created a number of mini, junior and adult teams and has plans to grow participation in the sport further. Relocation to a new 30-acre site on land between Melton Road and Norwich Common, will allow WRFC to expand and upgrade its facilities including new floodlit grass and all-weather pitches, car-parking and clubhouse.
To finance its relocation, WRFC applied to South Norfolk District Council for planning permission for up to 90 homes on its current site at Tuttles Lane, Wymondham and a further 300 homes on land west of Elm Farm Business Park. The Council refused the planning application on the basis that it wanted to protect the strategic gap that maintained the separation between Wymondham and the village of Hethersett. The Department for Communities and Local Government allowed an appeal on the basis that the South Norfolk Council could not demonstrate a sufficient five-year land supply for housing and therefore planning policies relating to the strategic gap were out of date and the weight attached to them much less in the planning balance.
Paul Wootton, Partner and Head of Planning at Howes Percival who advises WRFC on all its planning and property matters, led advice to the Club on the appeal and gave evidence on their behalf. Paul has been a member of WRFC for over 30 years and has played for the club’s colt and senior teams and is now the head coach for WRFC’s under 16 team and the Chairman of the Youth section.
Commenting on the successful appeal, Paul Wootton said, “In both a professional and personal capacity I’m delighted that Wymondham Rugby Football Club finally has the planning approval it needs to continue to grow. Over the years, the club has done an enormous amount of work to promote the game. It’s ethos of offering ‘rugby for all’ means that we now have a number of teams – from tiny tots to veterans as well as a ladies’ team. The planning permission means that the club will be able to build a new home and, the modern facilities will be a great community asset to Wymondham and the wider area. The Club is enormously indebted to the Barnard family who have agreed to give the relocation site to the Club and provide funding support until we relocate. None of what we have achieved would have been possible without them.
“Housing demand currently outstrips housing supply and this appeal decision is the latest in a string of decisions from the Department for Communities and Local Government which highlight the need for local planning authorities to demonstrate they have a five-year housing land supply exists or face planning permissions being granted on unallocated sites.”