Lastest Planning Comments (click on application no. for full details)

Application 17/03372 - Braywick Park Driving Range

Comments on Application 17/03372 - Braywick Park Driving Range

Erection of new sports centre, formation of outdoor sports pitches,vehicle parking and associated works including retention of adventure golf course and hire shop/office building.

In assessing this application there is a presumption that the decision to relocate the Magnet Leisure Centre out of town is correct. It is undeniable that the proposed site is Green Belt and an extraordinary case can be made to construct a recreational facility on said land. However, there is a strong community feeling that moving the leisure centre half a mile south reduces ease of access, especially for residents who do not have a car. A town centre location is much more convenient for regular users and is significantly more sustainable by not generating hundreds of additional car journeys each week. A more central location is also beneficial in terms of contribution to the vitality of the town centre. An upgraded facility could have been provided on the existing site, and hundreds of homes built on Braywick Park. Of course, the government would have to be persuaded to release the Green Belt designation - but this site is far more sustainable for housing than Spencers Farm, for example. On balance, the community would be better served by a leisure centre being retained on the existing site at St Cloud Way or York Road.

However, if the decision is set in stone then our observations on this application are as follows:

The facilities offered are generally larger and more comprehensive than currently, with the extra provision of outdoor games areas.

The performance area seating 650 is to be welcomed - but the internal access arrangements need to facilitate the flow of this number of visitors.

If the auditorium facility is to be attractive for performers and audience alike, then the decor, staging, acoustics, lighting and sound must be of the highest standard.

It is assumed that emergency exit arrangements have been properly evaluated.

Parking is probably adequate at 380 plus spaces, but this reflects the dependence on car borne patrons.

Given the anticipated volume of vehicular traffic access/egress arrangements onto Braywick Road are inadequate and will require controls at peak times.

In addition, pedestrians will experience difficulty ( if not danger ) in attempting to cross Braywick Road, especially after well attended events.

Bus transport to the site is virtually non-existent, especially in the evenings. A town centre / Braywick half hourly shuttle should be considered.

On balance the design, layout and elevations are positively received, especially the communal areas.

By way of conclusion we would ask that the strategic decision to relocate the Leisure Centre to Braywick Park is reconsidered, even if this delays delivery of the project. If exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated for Green Belt residential development of Spencers Farm and/or Maidenhead Golf Course, then residential development of Braywick Park might be a preferable option.