Football pitch plans thrown out

Lancashire Football Association's County Ground in Thurston Road, Leyland
Lancashire Football Association's County Ground in Thurston Road, Leyland

Plans to extend football pitches in Leyland have been knocked back after being described as ‘absolutely terrible’ and ‘nonsense’.

Members of South Ribble Council’s planning committee this week blasted the proposals by the Lancashire Football Association to add two small sided pitches to its county ground facility in Thurston Road.

The councillors refused permission on the grounds that the proposed floodlights and high fencing would impact on residents living nearby in Pembroke Place and Haydock Avenue – despite the scheme being recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers.

There were also concerns that the extension would adversely affect the visual impact from the nearby Sandy Lane Conservation Area.

Coun Mary Green, sitting on the committee, said: “What is being proposed here would be an absolute eyesore, and people living in the Conservation Area already have to suffer with this facility being just outside their houses.

“Normally I say the more the merrier when it comes to sport pitches; they encourage people to be healthy and they keep youths off the streets. But it is suggested that this facility will stay open until 10pm midweek, which I think is too late for children to be up on a school night anyway.

“It does concern me a bit, and I find all of this grossly unacceptable.”

Councillors not sitting on the committee also spoke out against the scheme, describing it as ‘appalling’ and ‘absolutely awful’.

The report put before the committee also stated that there is already enough sport provision in South Ribble.

The applicant was unavailable to attend the meeting, but in defending the officers’ recommendation for approval, council planning manager Helen Hockenhull said: “There are significant benefits to this scheme.

“It is right that there are enough pitches in the borough already, but the committee shouldn’t refuse an application to improve or extend an existing facility.”

All members of the committee voted to refuse planning permission.