Football club’s new stand would be an ‘eyesore’, says chairman

The pitch at Guiseley Football Club

The pitch at Guiseley Football Club

First published in News
Last updated
Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Guiseley Football Club has been accused of trying to push ahead with major alterations without talking to residents and neighbours.

The club has submitted a plan that would see three new stands, additional turnstiles, toilets and catering facilities created at its Nethermoor Park home.

Confirming the scheme on its website on January 23, Guiseley AFC said: "The application, which represents the first stage of a proposed four-phase development plan, includes new covered terraces, seated stands and additional amenities to provide visiting away fans with a better experience on segregated matchdays."

The adjacent Guiseley Cricket Club and local residents, however, are angry they weren't briefed about work that would involve "further encroaching on a public space".

And, with the deadline for making comments running out today [FEB 13], they say they have been given little chance to object.

An Ings Lane resident who contacted us, said he only became aware of the proposals this week, after receiving a letter from the cricket club.

He said: "It seems to us that this is being pushed through without proper consultation with local residents, and also appears to not be taking into account an 'in perpetuity' arrangement with the original landowner, after he purchased the land in 1919, that the park must be accessible to the public.

"These are hardly minor alterations, especially taking into account the terms of the lease held by the football club, the designation of the land as a Conservation Area, and the impact on both the immediate area and Guiseley as a whole.

"For example, the roofed stand proposed for the side adjoining the cricket club runs the entire length of the ground and would be 5.2 metres - more than 17ft - high."

Guiseley AFC, meanwhile, is calling on its fans to speak out in favour of the proposed changes.

Press officer Matt Rogerson said: "The application forms part of the club's ambitious plans to bring its facilities into the 21st century as it believes their standard is holding it back across the board.

"We would ask all supporters of the club's varied activities to voice their support for the plans as we seeks to progress on and off the field."

The cricket club, particularly worried about the new stand that would adjoin its grounds, has formally objected, listing among its reasons: *Insufficient time to scrutinise the plans, which it was first made aware of on January 17, properly *That a five metre high metal stand would create an "eyesore" within a Conservation Area, and deprive cricket club spectators of sunlight *Concerns that the terms of the gift of deed that Victorian mill owner Jonathan Peate gave the land, stipulating that it should be a "free area with open spaces", would be broken.

Guiseley Cricket Club chairman Nick Fraser, in his letter to residents, said: "This has serious implications for everyone in the surrounding area in terms of the impact on traffic, parking, noise pollution, etcetera - and we felt it important to bring it to your attention.

"Clearly the biggest impact of all will be on the cricket club and for that reason we wanted you to see the objections we have brought before Leeds City Council's planning department.

"Guiseley AFC chose not to advise the cricket club that they were applying for planning permission, because legally they don’t have to, and it is only due to our diligence that we found out what was happening."

In its statement released on Thursday, February 13, Guiseley AFC said the stadium improvements would help it significantly improve its spectator facilities to produce "the look and feel of a club that is going places".

It also says that a multi-purpose community building, part of the second phase of the club's redevelopment ambitions, would boost the work of its recently formed Guiseley AFC Community Foundation.

That building would also enable the club to expand its Football Academy.

Mr Rogerson added that, acknowledging the problems residents faced on match days, the club would be "more than willing to investigate the possibility of a match day residents’ parking scheme".

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