Tonbridge netball team told to stop playing after noise complaint
A NETBALL team has been told to stop playing at a Tonbridge school after a neighbour complained to the county council about noise from the courts.
Hurricane Netball Club, made up of 50 girls from the Tonbridge area, has been banned from training at Hugh Christie Technology College after a resident said they were being disturbed by referees' whistles and the traditional three cheers for the opponents at the end of a match.
Kent Education Partnership, which rents out the sports facilities on behalf of the secondary school, immediately told the club they had to train elsewhere.
Club development coach Jo Prescott said it was "appalling".
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"With Hugh Christie suddenly expanding, I imagine some of the neighbours are at the end of their tether," she said.
"But this is stopping young dedicated girls in their teens playing this sport regularly.
"I think it's a little bit 'shame on you' if the most distraction neighbours get is the noise.
"We have been playing there for years. The rapidness of it was a shock. I think it's appalling."
Ms Prescott believes the club, which trains each Thursday evening, was unfairly punished as the team had not used the outdoor courts because of the wet weather.
She said another team, which practices on Tuesday nights, may have caused the upset.
"I do know our club was nothing to do with it. It's a bit unfair," she said.
"They must have been cheering in a good, team spirit way at the end of the match, which we should embrace in this day and age."
In its letter to the club, Kent Education Partnership said noise after 6pm was in breach of planning conditions.
Jon Barker, executive principal at Hugh Christie, only commented to say the school was not involved in how the facilities were managed after school hours.
He said: "The lettings are managed externally. There are quite strict planning regulations on use of the all-weather pitch and I suspect that's what it was about."
Sharon Thompson, head of planning applications at Kent County Council, confirmed a resident had complained about the multi-use games area being used outside of its permitted hours of 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
She said: "This was imposed by the county council's planning applications committee when they considered the application and granted permission in September 2007 to protect local residents against any potential disturbances.
"In response to the complaint, Kent Education Partnership, the owners of the site, have confirmed that the condition will be complied with and have apologised for any inconvenience caused."
No one from Kent Education Partnership had responded to the Courier's requests for a comment at the time of going to press.