Plans for £40 million sports village to go ahead

Plans for a £40 million sports village at the University of Nottingham have been accepted after being altered to prevent felling trees.

Proposals for the village were initially declined by Nottingham City Council on the grounds that it would require the loss of three veteran oak trees, believed to be at least 150 years old.

The sports village situated on University Park campus will house ten badminton courts, a climbing wall and a fitness suite, and will also be used for graduation ceremonies.

First year Nursing student Kaitlin Barlow said, “It’s a really exciting and important addition to our campus. I look forward to seeing the completed project.”

“It’s important for the trees to stay, given the university’s sustainable reputation”

The council’s planning team had been in favour of the plans, saying the building had a “good design” and would provide “significant benefits”, despite the trees being a “factor to consider”.

However, when the votes were counted in January, seven councillors voted against the project, outweighing the 6 in favour.

Bilborough councillor Wendy Smith had said that proposed plans to plant six semi-mature trees “would not replace ancient and veteran trees”.

The altered plans were accepted after just five minutes

The university responded by shifting the proposed location south-east by nine metres, preventing the loss of the veteran trees. The altered plans were accepted after just five minutes, with committee chairman Chris Gibson saying he was “delighted to support the revised scheme”.

First year English student Kayleigh Fletcher told Impact, “It’s important for the trees to stay, given the university’s sustainable reputation.”

David Ross, University of Nottingham alumni and founder of Carphone Warehouse, is donating £3 million towards the village, which will take his name. University registrar Dr Paul Greatrix, who had previously opposed the refusal of the plans, said yesterday: “This decision now means we can move forward with this exciting project and we are aiming to start on site at the end of March.”

The village is expected to be completed by September 2016.

Tamsin Parnell

Image: University of Nottingham

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