Southborough residents angry at plans for floodlights and fences
A GROUP of Southborough residents are furious their homes could be overlooked by towering 15m high floodlights and huge fences – in place of peaceful green land.
The Skinners' School, which owns a large piece of land in Chestnut Avenue, wants to replace its football pitch with a synthetic hockey pitch.
A three-metre high fence – five metres behind each goal – would surround the pitch, with eight floodlights inside.
Glenn Lester, who lives opposite and is also a town councillor, said: "Everyone in Chestnut Avenue and the surrounding areas is up in arms about it. We've gone from having a quiet, sleepy field to possibly having this."
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At a planning and transportation meeting, Southborough Town Council recommended Skinners' withdraw the application and consult with the community.
In response, Skinners' has agreed to meet with residents on Monday at the site's pavilion at 7pm, but it has not withdrawn the application.
Mr Lester said: "It's a huge issue. Skinners' seems to have scant regard for the people who live near the premises."
Residents are also shocked at plans to open the site up in the evenings, as it is currently only open during school hours.
Former judge and Chestnut Avenue resident Michael Devonshire said he feared this could lead to unsupervised youths using the facilities.
"One of the consequences of having after-school hours is there's no registered groundsman," said the 82-year-old.
"During school hours members of staff are maintaining discipline.
"After school hours, organisations using the pitch are unlikely to have the same discipline and security procedure, with consequences you can imagine."
The school has proposed to open the grounds from 9.30am to 10pm on weekdays, 9.30am to 6pm on Saturdays and 10am to 6pm on Sundays.
Mr Lester said: "It's disappointing residents were not consulted before now. I don't know what difference Wednesday's meeting can make, as the plans have not been withdrawn."
Skinners' state the new site would serve mainly as an upgraded facility, which would stimulate higher levels of sport and physical activity, for the school and the greater community.
A further 23 car parking spaces would be provided, which the school says would serve to ease congestion on the surrounding roads.
The borough council aims to have a decision on the plans by August 30.
No one from Skinners was available to comment.