Response to 16/1375/OUT | A phased redevelopment of the football stadium

Dear City Council

Our following comments are in connection with the Abbey Road Stadium improvements 16/1375/OUT | A phased redevelopment of the football stadium.

We welcome this application as an excellent opportunity for the community and club to secure improvements to the grounds and surrounds, but are nervous of the details as supplied and the present density and massing of buildings along the western edge, especially western stand.

Lack of information on landscape effects

We have read through the available documentation and note that we can find no information on likely visual effects from increased height and massing of buildings. We are especially concerned about this along the western boundary with the common based on “PARAMATER PLAN MAXIMUM BUILDING HEIGHTS”.

We note that some consideration has been given to this within the EIA dealing with Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. However we do not believe that this is sufficient for a full assessment of the Landscape Character and Landscape Visual Impacts.

The height of the new buildings is significant due to the increased proximity to the western boundary. Whilst the existing buildings are not attractive, the stepped approach of this area of the stadium provides some visual relief. Furthermore some reduction of the effect is given by scattered trees along the boundary. This is especially important given the adjacent open Coldhams Common and Barnwell Lakes and the proximity of the Leper Chapel and other listed buildings.

We would suggest that additional information is supplied on this matter, which should be addressed via a supplement to the EIA.

Height and massing

With the heights and massing as shown the landscape character effects on adjacent areas would appear to be severe. We suggest that the parameter plan needs to be redesigned to either rebalance the buildings to the east of the site, where it is more screened, or to reduce the density. The site constraints plan should allow for this.

Design guidelines should be developed for the site in conjunction with a qualified landscape architect.

Soft landscaping and ecology

We also request that there is sufficient standoff from the western boundary to allow for a.) preservation of existing trees b.) suitable tree planting to create a green corridor along this edge.

We suggest that the ditch edges on the football ground side could be replaced by softer edges to replace concrete walls present along much of the length.

We also note that the space near the western stand is very limited. Both landscaping and access routes should not rely on use of adjacent open space to allow increased density within the ground.

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