Cricket club told to remove bunding

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A CRICKET club’s plan to stop balls disappearing into the next field has been stumped by a government planning inspector.

Findon Cricket Club constructed two 110-yard earth bundings, more than 6ft high, on the north and east boundaries of its Long Furlong ground.

But it went ahead without receiving planning permission for the scheme, and the cricketers have now been told the bundings must be removed.

The opening ball in this testing match was bowled back in June, 2007, when the club asked Arun District Council to approve a “sound and safety” bund.

Arun Council rejected the plan, and it thought that was the end of the matter. Then, in May last year, the council had to don its pads again after hearing that the bunding had been built after all.

The council issued the equivalent of a “sending-off” by ordering Findon CC to reinstate the ground to its previous condition.

Findon CC would not vacate the crease, however, and appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the enforcement notice.

But “chief umpire” inspector Kevin Nield used his deciding strike in the council’s favour, concluding that the bundings were “harmful to the character and appearance of the rural locality”, and other considerations did not outweigh that harm.

Mr Nield said in his appeal report that he observed the bunding consisted “largely of earth, crushed rubble and flint, with some evidence of glass and plastic pieces”.

The report said the club contended that the ground suffered from A280 traffic noise, and there had been a number of accidents involving vehicles crashing through the ground’s northern boundary.

Also, the statement continued, The club said bunding would prevent balls being lost over the eastern boundary, or disappearing into the adjoining farmer’s field.

But, said Mr Nield, such occurrences did not provide justification for such large earth bunds.

Club chairman Gary Howell told the Herald: “We were led to believe that a two-metre-high bund was permitted development, but, in hindsight, we should have confirmed it with the council.”

Conceding a match defeat, Mr Howell said the club would now proceed to remove the bunding.