By now it is clear that the AELTC application will be called into committee, and as with the new Plough Lane stadium, it will need to be considered at a dedicated meeting of sufficient length to allow the differing views to be expressed at the appropriate length and be duly considered.
On paper, there are elements of the proposal that - with adjustment - all might accept if irreversible legally enforceable undertakings are given with respect to the associated community benefits.
Overriding the whole plan, however, is the very clear covenant entered into by the AELTC at the time they acquired the freehold of the land concerned. This covenant restricts the applicant from executing significant parts of their proposal to develop on what is presently designated as Metropolitan Open Land and which key stakeholders have recognised as endangered heritage parkland, albeit currently laid out as a golf course.
If the Council is minded to consider the possibility of releasing the applicant from this covenant, then this should only be done after very careful consultation with their legal advisers and with key stakeholders within and beyond the community. Under no circumstances should the Council place itself at risk of being in breach of the law, or to be seen to have abused its position as trustee and to have ridden roughshod over the concerns of the residents it exists to serve.
Cllr Thomas Barlow
Cllr Andrew Howard