North Hertfordshire College pitch plea rejected by planning inspectorate

North Hertfordshire College's appeal was rejected

North Hertfordshire College's appeal was rejected - Credit: Archant

A planning inspectorate has rejected the bid for extended opening hours for a college’s all-weather pitch.

North Hertfordshire College’s (NHC) all-weather pitch at its Hitchin campus in Cambridge Road is currently permitted to have floodlights operating until 8pm.

The college submitted an application to North Herts District Council (NHDC) to extend the hours of use to 10pm, but this was rejected by members of NHDC’s planning committee on the grounds nearby residents in Coleridge Close were suffering due to the noise and disturbance.

The college lodged an appeal in September last year to have the decision overturned, and now a planning inspectorate has ruled that the time cannot be extended and should remain from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 12pm on Sundays during July and August, and at no time on bank holidays.

Walsworth ward member Cllr Ray Shakespeare-Smith said: “The decision is the right one and it is a compromise between the residents and the college. The hours have remained the same, not causing too much noise for people who live close to the college.”

Inspector Christopher Bowden said he would remove the limitation of the all-weather pitch use to solely football. In his report he said: “I consider that increasing the hours of the all-weather pitch use as proposed, particularly at weekends, would impinge unreasonably on residents’ enjoyment of their properties.

“I am also mindful that noise does not cease as soon as sporting activity is concluded because of time taken to pack up and leave the site and noting that there is a gravel-based car park close to residential properties.”