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Theale football pitch approved

Move will pave way for new primary school

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Contact:

01635 886639

plans

PLANS for a new football pitch in Theale have been approved.

The under-15s pitch will be located on land north of Englefield Road and was proposed by West Berkshire Council to replace a pitch that will be lost if plans for a new village primary school go ahead.

Fears over inadequate parking, increased traffic and noise from the pitch were raised at a recent meeting of the council’s eastern area planning committee.

However, councillors agreed that a new sporting facility would be beneficial to the area and subsequently passed the proposals.

Offering his support for the plans at the committee meeting in the Calcot Centre, Tim Metcalfe (Con, Purley-on-Thames) said health was a “key aspect” of the local authority and the pitch would help promote this.  

“I fully support any new sporting facility within West Berkshire,” he said.

Last year the district council approved its own plans for the 341-place primary school on five acres of land at the playing fields in Theale.

The council wanted the school open by September in order to cope with demand.

However, the work is yet to get under way because Theale Parish Council – which leases the land – had objected to the new pitch, owing to a number of concerns.

Addressing the committee, Theale parish councillor Jan Richardson said the new pitch was not a like-for-like replacement, since the one being lost to the school development was an adult pitch.

Parking, just two metres away from the run-off line, and a lack of access for emergency vehicles, were also cited as reasons to reject the application.

Speaking at the meeting, Natalie Lowe, representing neighbouring Theale Golf Club, said noise from the pitch could disrupt games of golf, while also raising fears that the clubhouse driveway may be used for parking by football spectators.

Both objectors raised concerns over an increase in traffic.

However, they admitted this would largely be as a result of the new primary school and not as a direct consequence of the pitch.

In a statement read out at the meeting, Alan Macro (Lib Dem, Theale) – who also sits on Theale Parish Council – backed the plans.

Concluding the debate, Alan Law (Con, Basildon) said he agreed with fellow councillor Mr Metcalfe and proposed the application be approved.

Mr Law said: “There’s a lot of commotion surrounding this application and I understand that.

“But I give a lot of credence to the local ward member who is both on the parish council and this council.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the plans.

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