The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints that UA92’s recently published prospectus for future students as misleading.
The prospectus claims that students will have access to a number of 4G (all-weather) pitches on Green Belt land at Turn Moss in Trafford. However, there is currently a planning application for only one 3G pitch there, and that has not yet been approved. It forms part of the application by Trafford Council to build a professional training facility on the same site for Salford City FC, also co-owned by Gary Neville.
The ASA have written to UA92 to ask them to remove the claim from their prospectus. Basic information including the UA92’s name and where the claim appeared will then be published on the ASA’s website (www.asa.org.uk). If the UA92 do not comply, the ASA will take further action.
In fact, the planning application as a whole is highly controversial and has met with over 1500 objections from local people so far and others. It is therefore far from certain that even one 3G pitch will be approved.
Objectors claim the plans would have a strong negative impact on local residents due to noise, lighting, and traffic pollution, as well as on wildlife and the environment; and concerns that it would disturb the peace of Stretford Cemetery, adjacent to Turn Moss. It would also unacceptably increase the risk of flooding in the local area according to the Environment Agency, a statutory consultee.
Community benefits claimed by Trafford Council, UA92 and Salford City FC are thought to be too vague and too limited to outweigh the many benefits for physical and mental health that this quiet green space already provides for hundreds of local people, benefits which would be lost or degraded if the development is allowed. Pitches currently used by local community football teams will not benefit from the proposed improvements – only Salford City FC and UA92 students will have access to the upgraded pitches.
The Friends of Turn Moss Foundation say that they can develop an alternative community-led plan instead, to improve Turn Moss for local amateur football teams and all the local community, without destroying its Green Belt character.
Trafford Council – just one hour before the deadline for objections was due to expire yesterday – have extended the consultation period for another 3 weeks, and say the decision about the plans for Turn Moss will now be taken by their Planning Committee on 17 May 2018 instead of 12 April 2018 as originally planned.