03:15PM, Thursday 11 April 2019
Maidenhead United are set to expand their stadium by 500 seats after councillors granted them with planning permission.
A new 300-seater stand will be built in the northeast corner of the York Road Stadium, by the Cage.
The south stand, in front of the railway line, will also be expanded, adding another 224 seats and bringing the total to 1,073.
The current combined seating and standing capacity is 4,558.
Speaking at the Maidenhead Development Management Panel yesterday, Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield) praised the club and it’s history.
He said: “It’s purportedly one of the oldest clubs that’s operated on the same football pitch and that in itself is an achievement.
“I also think they have to be congratulated on moving up and progressing within the league.”
Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) joked that those were not ‘planning reasons’ to accept the application, but regardless the councillors unanimously to voted to approve it.
The Magpies are seeking to expand their ground to ensure it meets English Football League regulations should they get promoted.
Although the club is currently 17th in the National League, forward planning is essential.
As well as the additional seats, the six current floodlights will be replaced with four more powerful ones.
A two storey changing facility will also be constructed.
Also at the meeting, councillors debated a planning application related to a prospective alpaca farm in Fifield.
The application sought to build a four-bedroom house for a farm worker to live in alongside the other farm buildings – for which there is planning permission but are yet to be built.
The owners of the alpaca business, which is currently located in the Cotswolds, are seeking to relocate to the land west of Mullberry Coningsby Lane.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), who is not a member of the panel, spoke against the application in his capacity as ward councillor.
He said: “The amount of development is grossly over the top for a small field, this is rural Berkshire.
“I don’t accept that there are any special circumstances.”
The main issue councillors had with the application was that the applicants wanted to build a house before the business had even moved to the area.
Cllr Philip Love (Con, Belmont) said: “It seems to be the wrong way around. Three buildings have been approved a year ago, and the barns approved last November.
“If the alpacas were already here I could understand the reasoning but to ask for this to be built before the other buildings I find extraordinary.
“It’s for a worker to be there with the alpacas, not a family man with two to three children.”
Cllr Paul Brimacombe (Ind, Cox Green), attending his final meeting as a ward councillor as he is not standing for reelection, raised concerns that the area could become an ‘executive close’ if the farm expanded.
He added: “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
“If something like that had been in place to show it was a working farm it may sway the decision.”
Councillors unanimously agreed to refuse the application.
Following that decision, the panel discussed an application to demolish and rebuild a home in The Straight Mile, Shurlock Row.
Council officers had recommended the application be refused, but the councillors disagreed.
Cllr Paul Brimacombe said: “This is their land and their money and you can do what you like if it doesn’t harm others.”
Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham) added: “We have to apply some common sense to this, this is a very large house and its not fit for purpose.”
Councillors voted to approve the application.
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