Planners Urge Approval of Laser Tag Facility

Councillors to decide on operation 'critical' to rugby club's finances

Permission for Laser Tag Facility 'Crucial' for Rugby Club's FutureThe current compound next to the rugby pitches

Hounslow Council planners are recommending that retrospective planning approval be given to a laser tag facility operating near Dukes Meadows.

Chiswick Rugby Club (CRFC) received earlier advice that planning permission would not be needed for the compound which is next to its pitches.

Laser tag is a recreational laser shooting sport where participants use infrared-emitting light guns to tag designated targets. Infrared-sensitive signalling devices are worn by individual players to register hits.

However, the council planning team later determined that approval was needed and served a notice to cease operations prompting the club to submit the retrospective application (P/2022/2478). It said in its submission that the continued operation of laser tag at the site was crucial for the future of rugby at the site due to the revenue it brought in. It cost £50,000 to erect the compound and removal of the facility would mean the end of the operation of the business.

One of the reasons the notice was served was because it was deemed to be a shared occupancy of the site with Adrenalin Rush running the facility . CRFC has sought to remedy this by taking over the operation which is now called “CRFC Laser tag.

The application prompted four objections on the grounds that it was an inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land, that it would add to congestion and pollution, that it was incongruous and harmful to the appearance of the area and that there had been a lack of transparency about the plan.

The borough planners have prepared a report on the application in which they dismiss concerns that there is any harm to the appearance of the area and neighbouring properties and conclude the scheme is acceptable. This will now be considered at a forthcoming meeting of the Hounslow Council planning committee with councillors voting whether to give their approval.

The council owns the land on which the laser tag facility operates and the club says it had indicated earlier that permission was not needed when the operation had to move at short notice from another location at the nearby Kings House sports ground.

CRFC, which is a volunteer-run charity, had consent for an extension to its clubhouse which would increase the number of changing rooms it has from two to six. For over fifty years it has used the Thames Tradesmen Clubhouse across the road for supplementary facilities, but this is now being redeveloped.

In 2018 it installed a Floodlit Artificial Grass rugby pitch at a cost of £850,000 with RFU funding which was partly based upon the expectation of more changing facilities at the site.

Following the withdrawal of Latymer Upper School from use of the site and the loss of the £350,000 that it was to provide, CRFC has needed to meet a significant shortfall. It has obtained funding from a range of sources but still has a deficit of around £80,000. This could be covered by a loan but the revenue from the laser tag facility was essential for it to be able to service the debt.

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November 20, 2022