Sport pitch plan backed despite residents’ fears

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PLANNERS have backed proposals for a school sports pitch despite a flurry of objections from residents who fear crime and increased traffic.

Although Ocklynge Junior School has won unanimous approval from all local bodies, planners have been inundated with 82 letters from disgruntled residents.

They say traffic would become heavier still, crime levels would increase and light from four eight-metre floodlights and noise from late games would prove a nuisance.

Just one resident wrote to support the plan which would see both children and people in the community using the pitch between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and 9am and 5pm on weekends.

East Sussex County Council’s planning committee will consider the proposal at a meeting today (March 23) in Lewes.

Planners recommend the committee should give the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) – which is roughly the third of the size of a football pitch – the go-ahead.

Residents from Victoria Drive, Farlaine Road, Baldwin Avenue and Stuart Avenue have said there could be more burglaries and vandalism if plans are given the green light.

They also complained school traffic already clogs up the area, with 840 pupils and 100 staff pouring in every day, and the problem would only get worse.

But planners tried to put their fears at rest by saying community users would use the school’s parking facilities out of school hours. Police also said crime levels were average and would be unlikely to rise if the sports pitch was built.

Most residents appealed for planners to allow another consultation.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, who is a governor at the school, backed the plans.

The county council’s planning committee approved proposals for a larger MUGA in 2006.

n See Friday’s Eastbourne Herald for a report on the county council’s decision.