Horncastle school's football pitch plans put on hold following neighbourhood backlash

A planning decision for a new 3G football pitch at a school in Horncastle has been deferred after numerous objections and councillors comparing it to a “prison-like structure.”

In December 2022, the Horncastle Education Trust (HET) proposed a new sports hub at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (QEGS), aimed at benefiting not only the school but also the wider public.

The proposed sports hub features several key facilities: a mini soccer 7v7 grass football pitch, a junior artificial cricket wicket, and a full-size 3G football pitch.

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The plan for the latter was submitted to the East Lindsey District Council’s Planning Committee for review on Thursday, April 4.

Sandra James, Chief Executive of HET, spoke before the committee, mentioning the positive feedback received from local clubs and organisations regarding the proposed pitch.

She said: “We try very hard to be a good neighbour in terms of the surrounding community and we also engaged in voluntary consultation in January 2023 with an open forum to all.”

Despite these efforts, Stephen Pickwell, a resident of Upland Close, expressed concerns that the pitch would be directly adjacent to his garden, potentially imposing on the nearby properties.

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“We fear for the noise and disturbances impacting on our weekends and evenings, the stated need for an acoustic fence outlines these concerns.”

The proposed development has already received over 30 formal objections through the council’s online planning portal.

Coun Richard Alison (Conservative) also criticised the project, highlighting its “inconsiderate placement” and the “immense” visual impact it would have on the surrounding area.

“We hear all too often ‘not in my backyard’, but unfortunately there lies the problem. This site is literally in the backyard of the people here today,” he said.

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“These residents are going to see this all day, everyday, not just for 90 minutes or so of football.”

Ultimately, the Planning Committee decided to conduct a site visit before reaching any final decision.

While some members were in agreement with the project, they acknowledged the concerns raised by residents and deemed it necessary to further investigate the site personally.