Dorset Council (former East Dorset District): Dan Wilden, Director of Pure Town Planning is pleased to have secured planning permission for a multi-use games area (MUGA) at a primary school in St Ives near Ringwood.

The proposal, on the existing school playing field, was for a new “astro” pitch measuring 50 x 27 metres surrounded by 3m high ball-stop netting and with eight 8m lighting columns providing flood lighting. The facility is primarily to be for school use but will also be available for extra curricular and wider community use until 8.30 pm. It is to be part-funded by a Sport England grant.

Following a long and involved process, full planning permission was granted at planning committee this week.

The application was locally controversial being in a location with many surrounding residents. A large number of objections were received which were countered by a sizable level of support. As often with these things the idea of the proposal is far worse than the reality and so we set about demonstrating, to the Council at least, that the impacts would be acceptable.

This involved commissioning a Noise Impact Assessment and providing full lighting specification including producing a light spill plan. Dan drew up a Third Party Management Plan designed to satisfy the planning officer and committee that the use of the facility outside school hours would be carefully managed to minimise disturbance to the local residents.

Other issues which needed to be addressed included ecological impacts, impact on a protected oak tree and addressing Sport England’s national planning policy for playing fields.

The school’s head teacher was delighted with the outcome and hopefully work on the ground can begin this year. It is satisfying to help with something which should have such a benefit to the health of the school pupils and the wider community.

If you have a sensitive project which needs steering through the system, why not get in touch with Pure Town Planning to find out how we might help you?