Headteacher at Brighouse High School Liz Cresswell says she can understand residents concerns over the proposed artificial turf pitch.
But that the governors and herself had a responsibility to try and promote the best possible facilities for the children of Brighouse High. “We have to explore every avenue available to help us do that and any funding that is available to improve the school facilities always has a community element,” she said.
The school in Finkil Street has applied for permission for an all weather pitch to provide facilities for both football and rugby thanks to a bid available from the Football Foundation and Sports England.
“Although we have a large area of sports fields we have no all weather facilities and I think we are one of the few schools in the area that cannot offer the pupils anything of an all weather type pitch,” she said. “We do have problems when the weather is bad and problems with a backlog of fixtures.
“The planning permission is necessary for the bid for the funding to proceed.”
Last summer the school held a community event to let residents know about their plans. “We understand the concerns about traffic and the concerns about timing of flood lights but we had to follow the parameters of the bid to request planning for a suitable community facility.
“The planning department will take into account the needs of the school, the community and the concerns of residents.”
She said the flood lights, which will not be visible from Finkil Street, are different to the ones at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and the light will be focused on the field, limiting the amount of light pollution.
“We already have a football pitch which we let out to the public so this pitch will replace that one. Although we envisage some increase in usage I don’t think it should have a major impact on traffic in the community and that the parking will be entirely accommodated within the grounds of the school.”
Mrs Cresswell also said that planning permission for a pitch in 2000 was withdrawn. She said planners were mindful to permit it but conditions had been added which meant that no matches could be held on nights when open evenings or parents evenings were taking place. Also that the flood lights had to be switched off at 9pm and therefore the company who were funding the plan withdrew.
“The school is used by a number of community groups so that does reduce the number of young people on the streets of Brighouse and gives them a focus and a place to carry out their sport hobbies and interests. I think it is beneficial to the community and Hove Edge.
“In the run up to the Olympics and after the school has had a massive growth, it has quadrupled, the number of students involved in sport in school. We now have a climbing wall, kayaks and over 150 students doing Duke of Edinburgh. We have also created a fitness suite.”
She said they would continue to listen to the complaints of neighbours and address them where necessary.