School appeals for decision on floodlight use
PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 October 2015
Nailsea School has referred its application to extend the use of its all-weather pitch (AWP) to the planning inspectorate because North Somerset Council failed to make a decision quickly enough.
The school, in Mizzymead Road, applied to increase the use of its floodlights in June to enable more sports clubs to use it.
Consultations on the proposal ended in July, but a decision has still not been made by the council.
Nailsea School’s operations manager Chris Perry said: “No decision was made by North Somerset within eight weeks, so we passed it on to the planning inspectorate.
“It was just being held up by the council and we wanted to progress it as quickly as possible.
“A report stated that if we installed fencing around the perimeter it would address the concerns about noise.
“We are happy to do this but we aren’t going to invest our money in a fence until it has been approved.
“We don’t know why there has been a delay. We haven’t had any feedback from the council.”
The school was the first in the country to have a fourth generation sports pitch and it is the only facility of its kind in the North Somerset and Bristol area.
It is used by students during school hours and by clubs and members of the public during evenings and weekends.
Since it opened there has been a huge demand for the facility, but due to the restrictions placed on the use of floodlights the school says it has had to turn clubs away.
The AWP cannot be used after 8pm on Monday to Friday, after 6pm on Saturday and after 1.30pm on Sunday.
The school wants to change the conditions so the pitch can be used on weekday evenings for an extra 30 minutes in May-July and until 9.30pm during August-April.
On Saturdays, the school hopes to use the pitch until 7pm from May-July and until 8.30pm from August-April.
No use would be permitted on Sundays in July, but for the rest of the year the school has applied to use the pitch until 3pm on Sundays.
Its previous application to extend the use of floodlights was turned down in 2012 due to unacceptable light pollution.
Planning and environmental health officers have since visited to assess light pollution to nearby properties and found it would not be detrimental to neighbours.
However, inspectors said noise levels were likely to be excessive for people living in Ash Hayes Drive and Mizzymead Road.
An acoustic fence has been recommended to protect the properties and the school has also proposed to supply neighbours with black-out blinds.
The application has generated mixed feelings with a number of clubs writing in to support the changes, while neighbours claim the fence will only help some of the properties.
A council spokesman said: “If the application goes over the term then applicants can appeal.
“The planning inspectorate will now be making a decision and they will ask us what decision we would have made and consider the information they have.”
According to a North Somerset Council report submitted on Friday, officers have recommended the school’s plan is refused.
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