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8th tier club threatened with relegation over row on planning permission at stadium

8th tier club Hebburn Town have been threatened with relegation over a row on planning permission of a media tower at their stadium.

Discussions are underway to try and stop a ‘media tower’ at the Northern Premier League Division One East outfit from being removed after the development clashed with planning policy.

Hebburn have only recently put up the structure in order to meet league requirements should the club want future promotions.

As reported by Shields Gazette, applicants said the plans were brought forward to meet tight league time-scales, with an application for retrospective permission submitted to South Tyneside Council (STC).

Yet, planning officers recommended the plans be turned down as the tower was placed on land meant for “recreational open space and as a playing field”.

This bit of land was also used for cricket, but no team had play this at the ground since 2015, nonetheless, Sport England objected to building on the land and asked for mitigation for the loss of cricket provision.

While council planners said the media tower wasn’t acceptable in terms of visual impact, they mentioned the structure would be “harmful and inappropriate due to its location on designated playing field”.

Hebburn Town have warned that refusal could be so bad for the club that relegation is a likely punishment, adding it would be “unreasonable and perverse to maintain or protect a cricket square when it is no longer being used and the team disbanded”.

Stephen Rutherford, chief executive of Hebburn Town FC, defended the scheme at Monday’s meeting of STC’s Planning Committee, with councillors hearing how football-related activities the club puts on benefits over 700 children and 150 adults, as well as its wider community engagement work.

Rutherford goes on to say that the site in dispute on “technical grounds” was a small area of “abandoned” land between football pitches had no alternative function as a cricket pitch, or for any other formal sport pitch.

The club are “massively disappointed” with the planner’s recommendation and that negative impacts from this would be a “huge kick in the teeth towards [the club’s] planned progression”.

It puts a dent into any ideas of future developments at the ground, coming at a time when the club’s junior and senior sections are growing.

Members of the Planning Committee showed sympathy to the club’s situation and questioned whether alternatives had been considered, including whether the media tower proposals could be withdrawn and resubmitted.

Councillor Sandra Duncan says the council’s recommendation to refuse represented using a “heavy sledgehammer to crack a nut” and add that a resolution would play a huge part for “young people of Hebburn”.

Councillor Eileen Leask talked about how it would be a “disaster for so many people” if the panel turned down the plans without planning officers and Hebburn Town first making an attempt to “work it out outside of this room”.

A decision on the application has been deferred to a future meeting with Hebburn officials, saying they are hopeful of a “positive solution” with the council which benefits the community and fits with their plans on progression while a Planning Committee is scheduled for next month.

Social media users reacted as the 8th tier club are threatened with relegation over a row on planning permission at their stadium…

@LeeJarraHackle: Give your head a shake, this is a media box used on match days for both home/away club secretary todo there match day commitment to football . Built in the middle of there football pitches causing no harm to any1

@onlygotone_: It is all a joke. If they never took over the club and invested, it would be another housing estate and nothing in Hebburn for the people

@LeeJarraHackle: It’s local football, for the community of people and clubs run by volunteers to put their Town on the map and yes it’s in South Tyneside so why ???

@onlygotone_: You will know from all the hard work you do for the community and get no help with

@bodas73: Not a surprise given the heavy handed approach South Tyneside council are taking with Hebburn Cemetery at the moment.

@TomCu86: Crazy ridiculous situation

@mattyduggan: What a fucking joke 😡

@Sandance1888: Wow, what’s going on at Hebburn? 👀

@MarkCarruthers_: A ridiculous situation. @HebburnTown are working hard to move forwards as a football club and have become a hub for the local community. Risking that for such a bizarre reason is pathetic.

@TrevorOakley1: I’m struggling with this one. Did they build it and then apply for planning permission?

Steve Appleton: Start a petition to support it, new houses built down the road no bother

Ian Mc Donald: You need a few brown envelopes for the Labour councillors that might help

Brian Goodman: If it had of been for housing it would be passed with flying colours.

Ed Jennings: If it’s not South Shields related it doesn’t stand a chance.

Darren Tinmouth: Thats stupidity, i dare them to say that in front of all the community that use the facilities and benefit greatly from them 😡

Sheila Robinson: This council are great at stopping things that are good for the area… How about all the Labour councillors who were voted in speak on behalf of the Town. TO BUSY LOOKING AFTER THEIR OWN INTERESTS!!!

Tony Middleton: The objection came from sport England. Its not the usual locals whining on and engaging councillors.The way I read it the councillors are seeking a solution.And for the Shields FC baiters on here, I’m sure Shields have been knocked back for planning permission before.What you do is plug away as Hebburn intend to do as per article .I hope they succeed ,like quite a few other Shields fans who have responded to this.

Brian Foster: What a disgrace. These people obviously don’t want football in Hebburn. I wander if these councillors are prepared to stand up in front of 700 kids and tell them that they are wasting their time playing football, because there will be no end goal of a Hebburn Town in the higher echelons of non league football.

Wendy Fairs: Funny that but another local club gets planning accepted on everything 🤷‍♀️

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