Gosport school puts in pitch and eight floodlights without permission

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A GOSPORT school has been criticised after installing eight floodlights and starting work on an all-weather pitch without permission.

Bay House School, in Gomer Lane, Gosport, applied to Gosport Borough Council to erect the floodlights and build the all-weather pitch at the field in Browndown Road.

A previous planning application was granted but lapsed, but the school went ahead with work in September.

The school wants to improve the facilities at the site, which include a 1970s sports hall, an unsafe 1988 all-weather pitch, disused tennis courts and two rugby pitches.

But residents objected to the plans. Ann Rolinson, of nearby Gale Moor Avenue said: ‘The lights are already up, so they must be very confident of getting permission.

‘But they are so very tall and they look awful. It’s ruined the view across to the Solent and it’s out of keeping with the character of the area.

‘You’ve got Brent geese there right next to the field and it’s a very important site for them as well. I don’t see why they need to use the fields until that time of the evening.’

The school wants to use the new pitch during school hours, with the floodlights installed so after-school clubs can use the pitch.

It hopes to hire the pitch to football and hockey clubs from 6pm to 9pm during the week, 9am to 9pm on Saturday and 10am to 8pm on Sunday.

Councillor Peter Edgar, member for Alverstoke ward said: ‘I’m disappointed that the right process hasn’t been carried out.

‘I can understand the school wanting to improve the amenities but they’re controlled by the same laws as everybody else. There would need to be some control of the use and that’s why a planning application is necessary.

‘I hope the school will not continue with the implementation or use it illegally.’

In a statement, the school said it will not use the facility before a council decision.

‘The lighting columns needed to be erected before the surfacing of the pitch and are being lowered pending planning approval,’ the statement said. ‘Our young people are looking forward to having the sports pitch open to them to use both during the school day and after school hours.

‘We look forward to possible future Olympians who will remember that their success started in Gosport on facilities such as this new one.’

The school said the floodlights are constructed to minimise light pollution.

Council officers confirmed the school was applying for retrospective permission.