School sports pitch decision deferred by Solihull councillors as furore mounts over plans - The Solihull Observer

School sports pitch decision deferred by Solihull councillors as furore mounts over plans

Solihull Editorial 23rd Jul, 2020   0

A DECISION over whether an artificial sports pitch can be built at a Solihull school has been pushed back by councillors.

A controversial proposal to create an all-weather football pitch at Tudor Grange Academy Solihull, has drawn the ire of the school’s neighbours.

They have accused the school of resurrecting the Powerleague planning row which created tensions in the Whitefield Road area in 2007.

School head Claire Smith put forward her own pitch plans this year, which were recommended by council planning officers.

But at a meeting of the planning committee last night (July 22), a decision over the pitch was deferred.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Solihull Council said: “The decision was taken to defer the application because the Environmental Health Officer had insufficient time to thoroughly assess additional information submitted by an objector.

“It is now anticipated that the application will be reported to next committee on 19 August 2020.”

The 1.5 acre pitch would have lighting and a high mesh fence surrounding it, to provide space for youth sports.

The school intends to use it for under-16s football training, with markings for rounders overlaid.

Objections to the application have focused on its similarity to proposals from pitch operator Powerleague, 13 years ago.

The 5-a-side league operator hoped to see new pitches provide a commercial revenue at the school site.

In details of opposition, neighbours believe the school would use the pitch for adult sports as a money-making venture.

Objections were also lodged ahead of the committee meeting by Green councillors Coun Shahin Ashraf, Coun Tim Hodgson and Coun Max McLoughlin.

When putting forward the plans in May 2020, Claire Smith, Principal of Tudor Grange Academy Solihull, said:“We want to reassure residents about the TGAS application to convert a football pitch into an all-weather pitch and ensure the information they receive is accurate.

“The application is to replace a football pitch that is currently unusable for the vast majority of the year due to poor drainage with a third generation (3G) synthetic pitch.

“Problems with the current pitch have led to cancelled fixtures and a reduction in our PE and sport offer and we want to fix the problem to benefit our students.

“The proposal is for a junior pitch of 91m x 55m that is ideal for our students and community. It would not be feasible to expand the size in the future and there is no need.

“In partnership with The FA the new facility will also be used by selected local clubs in the evenings and at weekends to support community football.”

The application will now be considered at a planning meeting on August 19.

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