Wed, 26 Jul 2017
PLANS for a new football pitch that could potentially unlock the building of a new primary school in Theale are set to be approved.
West Berkshire Council has applied to construct the new pitch on the North Street playing fields, to compensate Theale Parish Council for the loss of the existing adult-size pitch once the new school is built in the village.
The district council approved its own plans for the 341-place primary school on five acres of land at the playing fields last year.
It said that it needs to open the school by September in order to cope with demand.
However, the work has not yet started because Theale Parish Council, which leases the land, are objecting to the new pitch, owing to a number of concerns.
In planning documents, the council said that although the new school formed part of its justification, the pitch would have to be considered on its own merits.
The parish council had objected to the plans owing to a lack of information at the time regarding parking and rights of way.
The parish council also raised concerns over a pipeline and overhead cables crossing the site.
The original application for the pitch had raised concerns as only 25 parking spaces had been provided.
West Berkshire Council has now said the number was insufficient, given that 22 players would be on the pitch plus supporters, and has upped the number of spaces to 44 plus four disabled bays.
Further confusion came over public rights of way as the new pitch is close to a public footpath.
Proposed fencing for the new pitch would have left the footpath within the grounds, meaning that spectators would have been left standing on a public footpath.
The application for the pitch has so far received 10 objections and five letters of support.
The application has been called before district councillors by Theale’s district councillor Alan Macro (Lib Dem).
Mr Macro said the reason for the ‘call-in’ was because the council is the applicant and the plans are in relation to the new school.
Mr Macro abstained from the parish council vote, as did fellow parish councillors Paul Clifford, Daniel Baker and Darren Lye.
West Berkshire Council's eastern area planning committee will meet tonight to discuss the proposals.