Sir Robert Woodard Academy’s ‘controversial’ plans for a floodlit artificial pitch could be given the green light tonight (Monday, September 5).
Adur District Council’s planning committee are recommended to approve the £700,000 facility, despite nearly 150 letters of objection from residents.
The 3G pitch, which would be available for the community outside school hours, has attracted objections over issues including parking, noise and light pollution and increased traffic.
But with consultees including the council’s environmental health officer and West Sussex County Council’s highways officers raising no objection, planners believe any concerns can be ‘mitigated’.
In a report to the committee, set to meet tonight, planning officer Peter Barnett said: “Whilst concerns about the use of the facility outside of the school day are appreciated the supporting statements with the application have demonstrated that any adverse impacts can be mitigated.
“With the reduced hours of use it is considered that an appropriate balance between maximising the benefits of improved sports provision and neighbour amenity can be achieved.”
Sompting Parish Council joined 149 residents in opposing the scheme, arguing the scheme is ‘unneighbourly’, would lead to an increase in traffic, and provides insufficient parking.
The effect of floodlights and additional noise are also cited as major concerns.
The academy proposes to build a 1.8 metre bund in an attempt to deal with noise.
The council’s environmental health officer raised no objection over issues of light or noise, noting many properties were already affected by sound levels generated by the A27.
The need for the facility was identified following the construction of Brighton and Hove Albion’s Lancing training ground – previously earmarked for seven community pitches.
With other facilities allocated elsewhere, the school’s pitch would meet the remaining shortfall.
Funds from a legal agreement with the Albion will finance the project.
The report notes the unsuitability of the Upper Boundstone Lane school’s playing fields, with glass laid over the area during the academy’s construction now rising to the surface.
The pitch would be available for community use between 5.30pm and 8.30pm Monday to Friday, between 9am and 8.30pm on Saturday and 9am to 6.30pm on Sunday.
Officers have recommended limiting the Sunday hours to between 10am and 6pm.
Click here for previous coverage of the plans.
The issue will be discussed at the Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road, Shoreham, from 7pm.