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JCB golf course gets green light from planners

10/01/14 Another JCB investment - Uttoxeter, Uttoxeter New Golf Course at JCB Rocester,JCB CEO Graeme McDonald

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JCB has been given the go-ahead to start work on its state-of-the-art golf course.

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously gave the green light to the plan at a meeting yesterday (Monday).

Now landscaping work could begin as early as Autumn and JCB is aiming for the first players to tee off in 2018.

It is thought the course will employ 100 people in ground care and hospitality roles.

Permission was given despite an objection from a neighbouring homeowner fearing work on the course would damage his underground septic tank and the fact ancient woodland would have to be destroyed.

After receiving the vote, planning chairman Martin Blencowe said: “This is going to be of tremendous benefit for the community.

“There are one or two issues that need to be ironed out and no doubt there’ll be some changes of direction along the way, but you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs.”

Mervyn Shepherd, who has lived on land neighbouring the site for 12 years, has a septic tank and pipeline running beneath part of the course.

Addressing yesterday’s meeting, he said: “It’s a brick build septic tank which, under JCB’s plans, will be under the fairway on hole 11.

“The tank is under the rough and some of the pipes run under the fairway.

“I own the tank and need to access and maintain the system and the tank had to be put there as it was the only possible location topologically.

“The JCB estate has historically recognised that situation by not cultivating the land housing the system.

“The soak-away goes to the topsoil and needs a large area for dispersion.

“My other concern is the noise nuisance. The course will operate throughout the year, around the clock, and maintenance of the greens and fairways will be done by machines operating in the early hours.

“Parts of the course are only 30 metres from my front door.”

It was revealed earlier this week JCB will have to destroy ancient woodland to accommodate the course.

But the committee followed planning policy allowing this if the benefits of the project outweigh the loss of wildlife.

The 18-hole course will cost £30 million and will fill 240 acres of land neighbouring the Rocester World Headquarters.

The digger giant revealed its intentions at the turn of the year, shortly after announcing ambitious £150 million expansion plans that could create 8,000 jobs.

Historic Woodseat Hall, one of several buildings due to be renovated as part of the plans, will become a clubhouse with gym, tennis and squash facilities.

A ‘glass box’ will be fitted at the top of the building so clients can look out on the scenic course.

Although, if the application is accepted, the course will initially be used to host corporate clients, JCB hopes it will eventually become a venue for the professional European Tour.

JCB group property director Alan Thomson said: “We are delighted that the golf course project has been given approval.

“It is good news for JCB and even better news for Staffordshire because of the very positive impact this scheme will have on the local and regional economy.”

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