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Retired Rise Park firefighter urges Havering Council to reject 'wholly inadequate' plans for school games area

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2019

An Astroturf pitch similar to this one would be installed at Rise Park Junior School's proposed MUGA under the plans. Picture: Richard Webb/Wikimedia Commons

An Astroturf pitch similar to this one would be installed at Rise Park Junior School's proposed MUGA under the plans. Picture: Richard Webb/Wikimedia Commons

Archant

A Rise Park resident is calling on Havering councillors to reject a planning application for a new games area at a junior school.

Michael Ellis, who lives on Pettits Lane North with his wife and son, spoke to the Recorder about his opposition to plans submitted by Rise Park Junior School for the multi-use games area (MUGA), which would include a 2G Astroturf pitch.

The application is set to be decided on Thursday, October 22, by the council's planning committee after the item was called in by Cllr Osman Dervish.

Michael, 54, said the planned MUGA would sit only 7.5 metres away from the boundary of his property.

He said: "Our biggest concern was always around the fact that we want it moved further away from the boundary."

Michael, a retired senior officer in the London Fire Brigade, claimed that Sports England guidance recommends that MUGAs should be at least 12m away from houses.

He is also concerned about potential noise caused from the use of the MUGA, as well as the possibility of balls being kicked into his garden.

Within the proposals are plans to surround the MUGA with a two metre high fence and three metre high recessed goal ends, which Michael called "wholly inadequate".

Mr Ellis has sent a letter to councillors outlining his objections to the proposals and plans to speak against the application at the meeting on Thursday.

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He said: "It has got to the point where I feel that my voice needs to be heard and it is going to be heard."

In a report published ahead of the meeting, the school, on Annan Way, has submitted a response to issues raised by neighbours such as Michael, other consultees and committee members.

It said the MUGA will not be let out for community use at evenings or weekends.

The school added that the noise generated by the types of sport to be played there, such as football and netball, will be "better controlled" than currently.

"It will be placed on an area of the field which becomes damp and muddy during the winter months, rendering it unsafe for pupil sports activities at certain times.

"A permanent all weather pitch will provide an all year sports facility which would be of great benefit to our pupils.

"The addition of a MUGA facility to our trust site would not create any additional negative impact upon the local community, but would in fact positively impact upon the sports provision and enrichment opportunities that would be offered to all of our pupils for many years to come."

It also said that the school was surrounded by housing on all sides, so the same residential factors would need to be considered if the planned area was moved to the other side of the school field.

Planning officers have recommended the application for approval, concluding that the proposed facilities would provide additional areas for play, sporting and education activities.

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