School pitches get green light - again

PUBLISHED: 21:00 03 May 2014


A SCHOOL sports development which has divided a North Somerset village is pushing ahead after more than 18 months of contension.

Proposals for a £500,000 all-weather hockey pitch and 3G rugby pitch at Sidcot School have been on the cards since October 2012.

The Oakridge Lane school faced a number of delays before the plans were approved by North Somerset Council in February.

But the scheme was put on hold again when the decision was referred back to the south area committee last week by ward councillor Tony Lake.

Member of the public Richard Thorn spoke against the application at the meeting.

He said: “The challenge to the January decision isn’t a criticism of members, but because the information you’ve been given is inaccurate and incomplete.

“There has been a series of misunderstandings.

“The objectors are not against the hockey pitch but where it is put.

“A holistic view needs to consider not only sports facilities but the community as a whole.”

The proposals for the sports field in The Lynch, Winscombe, received more than 100 letters from objectors and the same of support.

Sidcot headteacher Iain Kilpatrick defended the plans at the meeting and said: “This is the fourth time I have been before this committee.

“We have looked at all locations and decided there are no other suitable locations in the school grounds.

“We have a lack of suitable pitches to meet our needs, particularly when competing with other schools. It will provide improved facilities for the community and will allow greater access to sport teams.”

Ward councillor Ann Harley said: “I think from the outset it has been a difficult process. My fellow ward councillor and I disagree, but that’s democracy.

“I don’t want people to lose sight that it is a playing site and has been for many years. The points raised have been quite emotive. I think Sidcot School has gone out of its way to try to meet the views of those objecting with the conditions.

“I think it has been going on way too long and we should try to relieve this for everybody’s sake.”

The plans were approved by the committee on April 24, which just Cllr Lake voting against.

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