Thursday, 24 September 2020

Neighbours oppose school’s plan for new sports facilties

Neighbours oppose school’s plan for new sports facilties

NEIGHBOURS have objected to plans by an independent school to improve its sports facilities.

Queen Anne’s School in Henley Road, Caversham, wants to build a new artificial pitch, pavilion and changing rooms as well as an indoor tennis building.

It also proposes to erect floodlights and fencing and create more parking space.

But residents of neighbouring Grosvenor Road have objected to the plans, saying it would lead to more traffic in the private street.

The girls’ school says the proposal is part of a “sports masterplan” which has taken two years to compile.

It has also been approached by Caversham Tennis Club  about the possibility of using the facilities.

The students play mainly tennis, netball and lacrosse but this would allow for the introduction of other sports, such as hockey, as well as addressing the shortfall of changing rooms for the swimming pool.

A design and access statement for the school prepared by Boddingtons Planning, of Watlington, says the pavilion would provide a central sports hub close to the pitches to allow viewing of the tennis courts and the new artificial pitch.

It says: “This building will contain changing facilities, rehabilitation and storage rooms and a communal area for accommodating visiting teams and parents for teas close to the pitches.

“It would be approx. 400m2 on two floors. The ground floor would primarily be changing rooms and toilets and the upper floor would be a meeting space where parents would have teas and, in the event that the tennis club joins, would be their club room.

“There would be a balcony that overlooks the tennis courts and the pitch. As it is in the centre of the site, it will not overlook anyone.”

The floodlights would be 10m high on the tennis courts and 15m on the artificial pitch, while fencing would be 3m high around the pitch and 4.5m behind the goals.

A 9m high “bubble” would cover the tennis courts nearest Grosvenor Road and would screen the lights from the tennis courts from the road as well as from the artificial pitch from the nearest houses in Henley Road.

The access in Grosvenor Road would be moved about 3m to the north to allow visitors to drive straight into the site and use the new car park. The statement says: “There are no traffic or parking issues. The main car park will still be used for the majority of traffic movements. The alteration of the access and the new parking area will take pressure off the existing main car park on sports fixture days.

“In the evenings, parking would take place in the new car park for the pitch and court users, although the main car park will still be open for use.

“The school is in an urban area on a busy road that generates both noise and lighting. It considers that the use of the floodlit facilities for the school would be until 6pm and a community use of the facilities thereafter until 9pm on weekdays but not at the weekends. This does not mean that it will be used every evening.

“At the weekends the use of the pitch would cease at 7pm, as would the lights.

“We have had a detailed noise assessment undertaken to assess the noise levels likely to be produced from the artificial pitch and tennis courts.

“The survey indicates that the provision of a 2m acoustic fence within the boundary of the school site will provide for noise levels commensurate with the recommended levels.” The school says the plans have been “carefully considered and planned to take into full account the sensitivity of the area”.

But residents of Grosvenor Road disagree.

Phil Hoyle said: “I have a big concern about the increased traffic that this will bring to the ‘private’ road. With the school’s plan to make this available to non-students, the general traffic volume will increase.

“The residents currently pay for the upkeep of the private road. With the increased traffic, this will result in increased maintenance. How will this be funded?”

Jerry Hayes said: “The significant increased vehicular traffic would be a safety concern to the residents of Grosvenor Road. The additional lighting would add light pollution.”

Anna Hayes said: “This road is not for public use and the existing main entrance for the school in Henley Road should be used.”

She said she objected to the proposed floodlights, adding: “This would mean this quiet family suburban area could be disturbed by use of the facilities after dark.”

Helen Savidge, of Field View, said that 15m floodlights so close to housing was not acceptable.

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