Memorandum by British Water Ski (PPG 09)
On behalf of British Water Ski I would like
to take this opportunity to bring to the notice of the Sub-committee
two items of concern to us.
The first is the role of the Sports Council
(Sport England) in the planning process. If a planning application
is received by a local planning authority for a sport or recreational
facility the authority is required to consult, among others, English
Nature and the Environment Agency but not the Sports Council.
This is extremely unfair, as no body with a remit to promote sport
is required to be consulted. Even the Environment Agency who has
a remit to promote sport and recreation almost never provides
comment from a sport or recreation point of view as they have
insufficient staff to carry out these duties.
We are concerned that the revised PPG 17 will
make it more difficult to gain planning permission for sport and
recreation. We would therefore like to see the Sports Council
made a statutory consultee for all planning applications that
involve sport or recreation.
Our second item is our concern about the implementation
of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) by English Nature
(EN). We are currently experiencing one example which is of great
concern to us.
A water ski club in Hampshire, established in
1982, has come under threat because of the Act. Wessex Water Authority
who owns the Lake applied to the New Forest District Council for
renewal of the temporary planning permission in early 2000. The
Club has also been working with the Water Authority and the District
Council to relocate to a new site in about two or three years'
time. The lake is an SSSI, designated in 1994 (12 years after
the formation of the Club) and the area is also a Special Protection
Area (SPA). Ivy Lake Water Ski Club is a small club operating
only one boat during the summer months but providing a centre
for water skiing for the disabled in the south west.
The District Council were mindful to approve
the application and were happy for water skiing to continue on
the Lake. EN commented on the planning application and this delayed
the decision. After the introduction of the CROW Act, EN objected
to the application and the District Council were therefore no
longer able to approve the application without the consent of
EN. The Club was informed by EN at a meeting in April 2001 that
if they continued skiing on the Lake they would be committing
a criminal offence. Needless to say skiing stopped immediately.
Since that time negotiations continued and a submission supported
by Wessex Water showing how the club operated on the lake was
issued to EN. After some time having heard nothing from EN the
Club contacted them and obtained temporary permission to continue
skiing whilst the submission is considered. We are very concerned
about the future of the Club!
We are very disappointed that EN has acted in
this way. They appear to have failed to substantiate their reasons
for their objections. They appear to be going against their own
SSSI notification guidelines that state "in practice, English
Nature is usually willing to give consent via the landowner to
the existing levels of sporting use . . .". They have threatened
a small club with possibly committing a criminal offence. I am
also told that the EN officer in charge of the case had not visited
the lake until the meeting in April 2001 and finally the Club
was established long before the lake was designated a SSSI or
We are very concerned about the situation as
we have a number of affiliated clubs on SSSIs. We would very much
like to have a closer relationship with EN to deal with any concerns
that they may have on any of our sites. You will understand if
I say these Clubs have real fears for the future.
If there is anything that you can put into the
new PPG 17 to protect Clubs who come under threat in this way
we would be most grateful. I believe that the above example is
evidence of the belief in many sporting bodies that most conservation
bodies are too strong and have too much power and influence and
that the balance needs to be addressed.