Objections to proposal for football academy

A PLANNING application for a football academy to be built on school grounds, resulting in the loss of playing fields, has met with objections from residents. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and AVC Sports Management have submitted the application to es

A PLANNING application for a football academy to be built on school grounds, resulting in the loss of playing fields, has met with objections from residents.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and AVC Sports Management have submitted the application to establish five football pitches - including two with floodlights - and a two-storey sports pavilion on playing fields at Valley School in Stevenage.

The application has been made with a view to relocating the AVC Sport Football Academy already established at Ridgemond Park in Stevenage, as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

BSF means HCC has purchased the Ridgemond Park site from Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) to enable the expansion of Marriotts School and the co-location of Lonsdale School.


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The proposed academy will be used for practical teaching and training activities for 16 to 19 year olds as part of vocational courses jointly run with North Hertfordshire College, and for community-based coaching and courses for all age groups.

It will also be available by appointment to a variety of bodies and community organisations.

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But residents in Valley Way and Monks View have objected to the proposal, citing reasons including an adverse impact on street parking, loss of outdoor facilities for pupils at Valley School, light pollution, and a harmful impact upon wildlife due to noise.

The Wildlife Trust has also raised concerns that the floodlights may have a negative impact on the behaviour of several species, such as bats, badgers and owls.

But a report by a planning officer at SBC says: "Assessment indicates there would be no significant light spillage beyond the boundaries of the site."

It also states: "The proposed scheme would not result in the unacceptable loss of playing fields serving the Valley School, and would provide a facility that would enhance outdoor sports provision in the town."

It asserts that parking will not be an issue because there is an existing 65-space car park, as well as a public car park to the southern end of Fairlands Valley Park.

The planning officer has recommended that SBC's planning and development committee grants planning permission when it meets on Tuesday.

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