Brighton school’s plans for all-weather pitch rejected

Posted On 12 Dec 2013 at 10:18 am

A Brighton school’s plans to build a floodlit all-weather sports pitch were turned down by planners yesterday (Wednesday 11 December).

Dorothy Stringer School, in Loder Road, Brighton, which is a specialist sports school, had hoped to use the artificial pitch mostly for football.

Its application to Brighton and Hove City Council involved building the pitch on ground that is currently prone to waterlogging and as a result often unusable.

The 107-metre x 76.5-metre pitch would have been fenced. The plans included 15m-high floodlights and a storage container.

The road in and out of the school would have been realigned and the planning application included the removal of a clump of semi-mature trees by the swimming pool.

But another group of trees, including two mature elms which form part of the national elm collection, would also have been for the chop. The school proposed planting 30 new elms.

More than 170 people wrote to the council objecting to the plans as did the Preston Park and Fiveways Local Action Team. And more than 500 signed a petition opposing the plans.

More than 230 people wrote in support.

A report to the council’s Planning Committee said: “The main considerations in the determination of this application relate to the principle of the proposed development.”

Those considerations included

  • the impact on trees and nature conservation
  • the visual impact
  • the impact on neighbouring residential amenity with emphasis on noise and floodlighting
  • transport implications
  • the benefit of the facilities both to the school and the community

The report to councillors concluded: “The proposal would benefit the school, the campus as a whole and the wider community.

“However, the proposal results in the loss of two mature elms protected by tree preservation orders which are part of the national elm collection, are in good health and of significant positive visual amenity value.

“The significant adverse impact of the loss of these trees is not outweighed by the benefits of the scheme.

“The proposal also raises concerns regarding its impact on the amenity of adjacent premises in respect of noise disturbance and light pollution.

“The proposal is therefore recommended for refusal on these two grounds.”

The Planning Committee accepted the recommendation, voting 10-2 to reject the plans.

Two years ago Blatchington Mill School in Hove was given permission to build a floodlit all-weather hockey pitch despite objections from neighbours.

In September Longhill High School withdrew plans to resurface its tennis courts and instal floodlights after neighbours objected.

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