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Local disquiet as Kenton school’s proposal for extra floodlit sport pitches goes to planning committee

PUBLISHED: 11:53 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:54 09 September 2020

Claremont High School Academy. Picture: Google

Claremont High School Academy. Picture: Google

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More than 500 residents have signed a petition to stop a Kenton school from installing floodlit football pitches and cricket strip.

Plans for Astroturf pitches at Claremont High School, in Claremont Avenue, is going before Brent’s planning committee this evening (September 9).

The proposal includes an additional floodlit artificial grass sports pitch and cricket practice strip with incorporated batting cages, the installation of 12 floodlights, high boundary fences with gates, and access stairs and ramps for pedestrians.

The school said the project was “an extension to the school facilities and the existing Astroturf which has been running successfully since 2009”.

However locals fear floodlights shining into people’s nearby properties and the use of rubber crumb Astroturf which they say will “leach into the Wealdstone Brook and River Brent” and “affect the ecological footprint of the area”.

They are also concerned about the increased traffic and parking when the pitches are let out by the school commercially.

The site is used by Harrow United Football Club which provides weekend and after school football coaching clubs for children.

Sue Wood, secretary of the Wealdstone Brook Residents’ Association, said: “This has been badly handled by Brent Council and shouldn’t be going ahead.

“The cricket pitches are 70 inches away from the back of properties.

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The floodlights on the site are 750 lux which is way over the recommendations for school and community of 300 lux.

“750 lux is the requirement for a centre of excellence not a pupil only use area during school hours as designated by the applicant.

“This objection was raised and ignored completely by the planning department together with the noise pollution created by the proximity of the cricket batting and netting installation to residents premises.”

The group managed to get the application deferred last year after only 26 households received notification that the plans were going to committee.

They put in a freedom of information request to see the plans “which were not in the public domain”.

Christine Morris, assistant head at Claremont said there had been “a misunderstanding” by residents and that the proposal is “not a commercial venture” but for the “benefit of students”.

She added: “The primary purpose is to improve the facilities for children. We do have lettings 6pm to 9pm in the week and at the weekend until 5pm, which is the same as our existing Astroturf facility. Parking is on our site.

“We always aim to be considerate neighbours and we do not allow events to run late at night.”

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “Our consultation went well beyond statutory requirements with letters sent to 241 nearby properties.

“The application drawings were available on our website from the start, but the supporting reports weren’t due to a technical issue which was then resolved, before local residents were again consulted to ensure they had the chance to view the reports and have their say.

“It will now be for the committee to make a decision as they do with all other applications, taking into account planning policy, planning law and the comments received during the consultation.”


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