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Eric Pickles rejects London Irish plans

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London Irish Rugby Football Club's (LIRFC) plans to build a new training ground and to redevelop its existing facility have been rejected by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Two planning applications drawn up by the Aviva Premiership club were subject to a public inquiry earlier this year, having been dismissed by Spelthorne Borough Council last year.

The first of the applications related to a proposed training ground development at the site of the current Hazelwood Golf Course off Croysdale Avenue, Sunbury-on-Thames.

A second application concerned the subsequent redevelopment of the club's existing facility off The Avenue, which would have included homes, a health centre and a care home.

Spelthorne Borough Council deputy leader Richard Smith-Ainsley said: "We are delighted with the decision that the Secretary of State has taken.

"There were substantial concerns about both applications including the loss of urban open space by developing The Avenue site and concerns about the impact on the Green Belt and noise at the Croysdale Avenue site."

LIRFC chief executive Andy Martin said: "We will now take some time to understand the implications of the decision and consider our next steps.

"We very much hope to work closely with Spelthorne Borough Council and our neighbours over the coming months to find an alternative solution as London Irish has no option but to relocate from its current location."

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London Irish Rugby Football Club's (LIRFC) plans to build a new training ground and to redevelop its existing facility have been rejected by communities secretary Eric Pickles.
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