The Executive Member for Culture and Communities and the Executive Director of Growth and Place submitted a report, the purpose of which was to approve that Southlands be designated as a community hub with football / associated sport activities, and the remainder of the site be developed accordingly.
The report provided an update on the community consultation on the new fit-for-purpose community facility, refurbishment of the existing artificial grass pitch, the demolition of the existing Southlands buildings and the development of the remainder of the site as potential football pitches.
A decision was required as the decision to develop the Southlands site as a community hub with football / associated sports activities would impact on more than two wards in respect of the location of the Southlands, as well as freeing up other sites for housing development elsewhere in Middlesbrough. The development of the site, both in terms of the capital expenditure and potential capital receipts / council tax from releasing other housing sites, would be in excess of the £150,000 threshold i.e. a key decision.
The report provided the background to Southlands and supporting information in respect of the proposed decision.
With the Chair's permission, Councillor Hubbard presented a written representation on behalf of a member of the public.
Other potential decisions and why these had not been recommended
Develop the remainder for housing use
As stated previously, the site could generate a capital receipt based on land values in the order of £67k to £116k per acre. However, other housing sites elsewhere in Middlesbrough had values more in the order of £350k to £450k per acre. In addition, the Southlands site had a number of physical restraints which would impact on the amount of land available for housing.
Other uses for the site
There was no demand or potential use for the building, as demonstrated by previous marketing exercises, for the site and the need for significant investment in what was essentially a 50-year-old former secondary school. Alternative uses were originally proposed and considered and, despite genuine efforts over a two-year period, there was a lack of a viable business plan for the continuation of the facility as outlined in the April report. No further alternative uses had subsequently been identified.
That Southlands be designated as a community hub with football / associated sports activity and the remainder of the site be developed accordingly.
Due to a combination of the current impediments on the Southlands site, the benefit of the existing artificial grass pitches, future fit for purpose community centre, associated car parking together with the low land values in this area, the most cost effective solution was to develop the site as a community hub with football / associated sports activity, which would free up higher value housing sites elsewhere in Middlesbrough.
Further discussions would take place with both the Football Foundation and Sport England on how best to take this scheme forward, and maximise the space available to support playing field provision within Middlesbrough.