Sport England archery centre plans approved at Shropshire base

A bid to build a new Sport England archery centre in Shropshire has been approved by planning officers.

Lilleshall National Sports Centre has been the base for the GB Archery training
Lilleshall National Sports Centre has been the base for the GB Archery training

Sport England had applied to Shropshire Council for planning permission for the proposal at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre last year.

It came after it was forced to close its outdoor range because of concerns from neighbours about stray arrows.

The new centre will include both indoor and outdoor shooting ranges.

Shropshire Council planning officer Sara Jones has recommended approval for the proposal under delegated powers.

In a report outlining the decision she said: "While the site is located in the countryside it is closely related to the existing long established national sports and training facility.

"The limited adverse impacts of the development identified and the 'less than substantial harm', would be outweighed by the public benefits which would stem from the enhancement of the existing training facilities."

As part of the application, Archery GB had explained how the current facilities were disadvantaging athletes – and putting wheelchair users at risk of injury.

The organisation also said that while the organisation was "very happy" at Lilleshall, if the scheme were not to go ahead then it would have to consider moving to a new base.

The council report said: "They reiterate that the current temporary shelter and support facilities next to the range, enabled GB Archery World Class programmes to continue their preparation for Tokyo Olympics.

"However, this created a half mile distance between indoor and outdoor daily training environments and has been challenging to operate effectively.

"They comment that this is particularly difficult for para-athletes who make up approximately 70 per cent of the archers in their elite programmes.

"Wheelchair users are having to undertake significantly more wheelchair transfers due to travelling between indoor and outdoor facilities which is increasing the risk of shoulder, arm and back injuries."

The development will see the creation of a single storey building made up of two separate, but interlinked, elements laid out in an 'L' shape, with the indoor shooting range running along the eastern boundary of the site, and the facilities building and shooting area for the outdoor range running along the southern boundary.

The proposed new buildings would have a total footprint of 1,606 square metres.

The building is proposed to be faced in contemporary materials including grey coloured aluminium standing seam cladding to the roof and walls and areas of vertical plank timber cladding.

The outdoor shooting range will be positioned within the centre of the site, between the indoor shooting range and the landscaped area along the western boundary of the site and extends to 70 metres in length.

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