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Councillors slam school for lack of consultation

PLANS to build a multi-use sports pitch at a Wokingham school have been postponed after councillors laid into applicants.

Concerns had been raised about proposals to install the sports facility at Luckley House School after more than 60 residents complained about the impact of noise and light coming from the area.

The games area would be based at the south side of the campus, just over 50 metres from some properties, and would be used by the school and the public for football, hockey and tennis had it been approved.

Councillors questioned whether applicants had fully considered how those living at Denby Close and Luckley Road would be affected and voted to defer judgement on the plans until more information had been provided.

Planning committee member councillor Wayne Smith said: “You would have thought an independent school in this area would have done extensive consultation with its neighbours. If you have got 60 people surrounding your school complaining you’ve got a problem.

“It is a poor show by the school. They should have done an extensive consultation. They have not done it, bad on them”.

Resident Mike Sheldon brought a picture board up with him to speak at the council’s planning meeting on Wednesday, May 8, in order to point out inconsistencies in the application.

Architects had stated the playing fields “are surrounded by mature trees which screen views into and from the site.”

But evidence submitted by Mr Sheldon pointed to the lack of screening some nearby homes get from trees around the school, suggesting the architect’s claim landscaping provided cover was a “gross misrepresentation.”

A council officer said he agreed trees did not provide suitable screening from the school, adding there was “no dispute” residents would be able to see lights from the sports pitch.

Dozens of residents and ward member for Wescott Cllr Maria Gee had also raised fears about loud noises coming from the pitch and a planning report outlined how the sound of hockey balls hitting goal boards and referee whistles would exceed recommended acceptable levels.

In a statement submitted to Wokingham Borough Council before the planning meeting, Mr Sheldon said: “the use of public address systems, megaphones and the shrillness of whistles etc would become unbearable”.

Councillors voted to defer the application after outlining the need for more information on noise levels and more assessments on the impact on nearby houses.


This article originally appeared on Bracknell News

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