Plans for a new cricket ground in Budleigh Salterton – aimed at ending years of flooding misery – have been given the go-ahead.
Proposals featuring two pitches, a pavilion, car parking, an equipment store and netting, were approved this week.
Applicant Clinton Devon Estates had asked East Devon District Council (EDDC) for the green light for the scheme on land north of South Farm Cottages, off East Budleigh Road.
The town’s cricket club wants to move from its current home after being blighted by years of ‘catastrophic’ flooding.
Granting the application planning permission under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “This proposal seeks to relocate an existing cricket club which, whilst situated in an excellent location in terms of the town of Budleigh Salterton, has been rendered unusable by its situation within the flood zone.
“The proposed location is within the AONB [Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty], however, it is considered that there are no other sites which are available which are preferable in terms of its location, given the direct access onto the B3178, being situated on a main bus route and within walking distance of Budleigh Salterton and East Budleigh.
“Visually, the buildings would have a minimal impact on the landscape, and it is considered that due to the distance to nearby dwellings the use of the pavilion and cricket fields would not have an impact on residential amenity.
“Conditions are required to ensure adequate surface water drainage and that the ecological measures set out in the report are adhered to.”
The plans stated: “The reason that the cricket club needs to relocate is that the existing ground is at sea level and has been affected on several occasions by catastrophic flooding.”
Chartered architects Club Design Ltd told EDDC in the application: “This site, if developed as a cricket facility, would not be affected in that way.”
Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club is currently located to the east of the town and west of the River Otter.
The site is below sea level and suffers flooding on an increasing basis, with the ground often waterlogged.
Flooding at the site was so catastrophic in 2008 and 2012 that water reached as high as the roof of the clubhouse.
Blueprints for the new ground have been designed to meet the criteria of Sport England and the ECB.
Budleigh Salterton Town Council backed the application in September last year, with mayor Caz Sismore-Hunt saying: “At last! It’s been something we have been waiting for, for a long time.
“At least you won’t be up to your knees in water.”