Weeting football pitch plans refused

Weeting Parish Council is still hopeful it can increase football pitches in the village despite the refusal of a recent planning application.

Proposals were submitted earlier this year for three new pitches on an area of vacant agricultural land on the edge of the village.

Breckland planning committee refused the application at a meeting on Monday, but Weeting parish councillor Robert Childerhouse said it was now possible a revised application could be submitted, and did not rule out the possibility of an appeal.

'We're going to re-assess the situation and will have to come up with evidence that this is the only site we've got,' he said. 'The council has approached land owners for allotment land in the past and they've not been forthcoming so we'll have to go back to them and see if there's any availability.

'We're disappointed at the outcome and some of the comments made but we're still quite keen to work with Breckland and are confident we can get this sorted out.'

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Weeting Football Club secretary, Joe Green, said moral among players was currently 'not good'.

'We need to be improving the club and making it bigger but there seems to be fences everywhere that we've got to jump,' he said.

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The refusal was made on the grounds of the location of the proposed site and its sustainability.

A report by Breckland officers to accompany the application said there were worries about accessibility and added: 'It is considered that the proposed site is some distance to the north of the village and is inaccessible in terms of pedestrian access.

'There is currently no continuous footpath link to the site from the village and therefore there are concerns about safe and convenient access by those not travelling by car to the site.

'The landowner has offered a permissive footpath as part of the recently approved residential development on the adjacent site however this is not a direct route and there is no indication as to when it would be available for use.

'It is considered that there is other land within the parish which is better related to the village and further away from the SPA [special protection area].'

It added that while it noted that the RSPCA had said it would withdraw its objections if a fence was erected between the site and nearby stone curlew, this would be 'visually intrusive and wholly inappropriate in this rural setting'.

Natural England removed its objection after more information on the possible effect on stone curlew was provided.

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