Residents kicking off over new pitch hours

NAILSEA School’s plan to extend the operating hours of its all-weather pitch is ‘illogical’ and will bring misery to residents according to a North Somerset Council member.

Councillor Andy Cole has echoed calls for the changes to be scrapped ahead of the council’s decision today (Thurs).

Last month the school applied to change the weekday opening hours for its sport pitches to 8.30am-9.30pm and on Sundays and bank holidays to 8.30am-6pm. The changes would mean they would be open for 12.5 hours longer each week.

But Cllr Cole, who represents Nailsea East ward, said he had received dozens of complaints from nearby residents.

And he admitted to being somewhat baffled by the proposal when a recent report revealed that, at weekends, the pitch is rarely used for more than three hours a day.

He said: “With so much spare capacity on weekends, it seems illogical to impose any more misery on local residents by extending the usage time on weekdays.

“Local residents already accept more than enough detrimental impact to their amenity as it is.”

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And Cllr Cole, who is an independent councillor, criticised the council’s report which said permission should be granted.

He said: “In the report the council officer refers to several other all-weather pitches and says others [which stay open longer] are no different.

“I have been to several other pitches, including in Gordano, which is on the outskirts of the village and 200m from dwellings. It’s the same with Churchill and Clevedon.

“Nailsea School is in a densely populated area and this affects many people.”

The planning application has attracted more than 30 letters of objection and has been recommended for refusal by Nailsea Town Council.

Nailsea School has offered to amend its proposed opening hours to placate residents

In an amended application it proposed closing earlier during the summer months and to open from 9am-3pm on Sundays – with a condition that on six Sundays a year they can stay open to 6pm.

A final decision will be made by councillors at the central area committee meeting at Weston Town Hall today (Thurs). It starts at 6pm.