GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’

GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’

Planning permission granted for London GAA’s old ground

Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark’s Planning Inspectorate has overturned Greenwich council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the GAA’s old New Eltham ground.

GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’
Greg Clarke

An independent planning inspector appointed by his department, B J Sims, gave permission for 136 new homes, gardens and parking spaces to be built on the old playing fields.

The decision clears the way for a development conservatively valued at a minimum of £72 million.
Croke Park refused to comment on the long-awaited ruling or reports that the GAA – by virtue of an earlier agreement – will be paid £5.5 million by the property developers on top of £500,000 it received several years ago when it sold the option to purchase the land for development.

Local residents, the council, and even the then Labour Secretary of State Ruth Kelly in 2007 have long resisted plans for development but the independent planning inspector said there was a clear need for housing in the area.

GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’
The old entrance

New Eltham has been idle since 1992 and the subject of a great deal of heated controversy within London GAA politics.

In 2001 London property developer Novalong bought the option to develop the derelict grounds, subject to winning planning permission, for a down payment of £500,000 payment, with a view to an outright purchase of the site for an agreed £5.5 million.

GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’
Image courtesy of Maurice Fraser

Along the way local residents have campaigned against building on the 13-acre site, which used to hold three pitches, arguing that it should be used for sport.

GAA remain tight-lipped over £5.5m New Eltham ‘windfall’
Ruth Kelly

Then Secretary of State Ruth Kelly rejected appeals for permission in 2007, but Novalong and Linden Homes appealed the latest rejection in December 2014, which was heard at an inquiry in April.

The decision to uphold the appeal, and permit planning permission, was announced late last week.

Now, according to the Inspector’s report, the developers may build: “136 residential units of up to 2.5 storeys in height, with associated access, parking, publicly accessible open space and landscaping, including demolition of a garage at 134 Avery Hill Road, on land at and to the rear of 132 and 134 Avery Hill Road, New Eltham, London, SE9 2EY, in accordance with the terms of the application, Ref 14/3551/F, dated 5 December 2014, subject to the conditions set out in the Schedule appended to this decision.”

The Irish World asked the GAA to comment on the decision, and if the funds received for the entire purchase of New Eltham would be distributed back to London or British GAA, or distributed across the association as a whole.

The GAA Head of Communications, Alan Milton, said: “We are not making any public comment on the matter at this time.”

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