CONCERNS have been raised about potentially ‘devastating’ plans to build a massive sports and leisure village on greenbelt land just off the Eastwood bypass.
The people behind the scheme say the £15m development could create as many as 200 jobs but leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Milan Radulovic, said the plans by Decathlon owners Oxylane would have a ‘devastating impact’ on surrounding town centres.
“It’s a major concern to us because of the impact it would have on existing town centres and even the Giltbrook Retail Park,” said Cllr Radulovic.
“It’s potentially a massive complex and it would have a devastating impact on them.
“Town centres are suffering far too much already without another retail outlet.”
But Luke Fillingham, UK Oxylane Village Director, said the plans would benefit the local area.
“The development will provide a new destination site for local people, in particular families, to access better lifestyle opportunities.
“I am very proud to be leading this initiative especially when local services are under severe pressure everywhere across the country.
“The private sector does need to do more to support communities and engage with local people so that’s exactly what we intend to do.
It is thought the complex, just off the A610 and junction 26 of the M1, will offer free-to-use leisure facilities including fully-equipped play areas, changing facilities and a huge open park..
It is based on leisure sites in France, some of which are up to 50 acres in size.
Broxtowe Borough Council’s head of planning Steve Dance described the plan as ‘wholly inappropriate’ for greenbelt land.
“I have concerns about linking retail and sports given that the site is greenbelt,” he told the Advertiser.
“The idea is you have a big sports retail facility and then a lot of associated sporting facilities with it so you can buy your sports equipment and then use it.
“They are trying to make a connection with sports retail and practical provision.
“The sporting facilities would be welcomed I’m sure, but the retail part of it is a different story.
“It’s an inappropriate use by definition. Greenbelt is a well-defined planning function and when you designate it there are appropriate uses and inappropriate uses. Retail is wholly inappropriate.”
No application has been submitted yet but the firm has been in discussions with the council for over a year.
Mr Fillingham revealed the next step was to hold a series of public consultation early in the new year to explain the plans.
“There has been some confusion about what Oxylane are planning to do so I urge everyone to look at our website and attend the public consultation events,” he added.
“All this will be widely publicised well in advance, giving local people the details they need to judge for themselves, before a formal planning application is submitted.
“I have been working with national and local government for over two years to develop an innovative concept offering a wide range of services all located together, on one site.
“The purpose is to help more people enjoy an active lifestyle which results in better public health and wellbeing.
“In the current economic climate projects like this are very rare. “