North Staffordshire school plans £400k sports upgrade (but residents aren’t happy about the floodlights)


More than £400,000 is set to be spent on transforming a school’s outdoor sports facilities as part of the Government’s Town Deal scheme.

The King’s CE School, in Kidsgrove, has unveiled plans to refurbish its synthetic turf pitch which is no longer in use after falling into disrepair.

There would also be brand new 3G sports provision and upgraded tennis and netball courts.

Newcastle Borough Council’s planning committee is being recommended to approve the proposals at a meeting later today (Tuesday, November 10).

But local residents have raised concerns about noise and replacement floodlights, which could be switched on until 10pm on weekdays and until 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Executive headteacher Emily Verow said the sports provision was badly needed by pupils.

She added: “The young people of Kidsgrove deserve first-class facilities and this development will not only enhance the PE provision at the school, but offer the wider community brand new sport and leisure facilities to use all-year round.”

A number of local clubs have already expressed interest in using the site which, if given planning permission, is due to be completed by Easter 2021.

The King’s is investing £76,000 from its own budget, with £225,000 coming from the Government as part of the Kidsgrove Town Deal. The borough council is chipping in a further £150,000 through its playing pitch strategy.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis has welcomed the developments.

He said: “The more facilities we have to encourage young people to have an active and healthy lifestyle is critical.

“It also means, alongside the refurbishment of the sports centre, Kidsgrove will have a unique offering of a sports village, which will be of huge benefit for North Staffordshire residents. No more will Kidsgrove be the forgotten town.”

The King’s CE School in Kidsgrove.

A report drawn up for the planning committee notes the school breached previous planning permission as it didn’t have a joint community use agreement for its sports facilities. But The King’s is working with the council to establish one for the new pitches and courts.

Eight objections have been lodged against the proposals.

Steven Holloway, from Fifth Avenue, Kidsgrove, lives alongside the old pitches.

In his objection letter, he said: “This planning proposal will directly affect my life, with light and noise pollution, and at no time have I been directly consulted on this.

“When it was used before, we constantly had pitch users climbing into our garden for retrieval of balls. At one point, a user got impaled on the fence.”

Neighbour Gui Thnsoubo added: “People living in Fifth Avenue will suffer from noise and light pollution with the hours that are planned.

“This should at the most be operational until 8pm on weekdays and should not be allowed to open at all on a Sunday. These usage hours are showing no consideration for the public.”

The committee report said the LED floodlighting would be mounted on 10-metre high columns. But there would only be 14 lamps, rather than the previous 24, and would present ‘no greater harm’ than the old lights.

It adds: “The management of the floodlighting could reduce the impact on neighbouring occupiers and the applicant has advised that certain floodlights could be switched off when not in use.”





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