Swanmore school in £1m field swap deal for new pitches

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A LAND swap with a developer is set to help a secondary school create a new £1.1m sports pitch scheme.

Swanmore Community College of Technology will trade one of its current playing fields for an existing field of a similar size.

This would allow a parcel of land to be developed by Linden Homes to create 75 residential units.

Councillor Ken Thornber, the leader of Hampshire County Council, approved the £1.1m proposals to provide an all-weather floodlit synthetic turf pitch at the college in New Road, Swanmore, as well as a full-size grass rugby pitch at yesterday’s decision day.

The council says the investment will not result in any overall loss of sports facilities for the college, but deliver significantly improved facilities with a longer season of use.

However, the swap is reliant on the plans for the housing development and the pitches receiving planning permission from Winchester City Council.

If the application is unsuccessful, neither scheme would go ahead as they are dependent on each other.

Councillor Thornber said: ‘Following the London 2012 Games over the summer, these pitches would help to build on that Olympic legacy and provide the college’s 1,251 pupils with enhanced sporting facilities

‘If both schemes receive planning permission, this would also then allow proceeds from the sale of the land for housing to be reinvested into the college’s buildings.’

The proposed new pitches will be to the north east of the existing school.

The floodlighting has been designed to minimise glare and light pollution.

The rugby pitch will have a fence around it and will not be floodlit.

New trees and hedgerow will also be planted around the pitches to screen the pitches from nearby housing.

And there will also be a new footpath link to the western side of the pitches from the existing school buildings.

The planning applications have yet to be submitted.

If planning permission is granted for both schemes, work could begin on the site around the middle of next year and be complete by the end of 2013.