‘Safeguarding issues’ could be effect of school barrier

Littlehampton Academy SUS-150812-164422001
Littlehampton Academy SUS-150812-164422001

A LITTLEHAMPTON school has argued against installing a noise barrier along the edge of its sports pitch as it would create a secluded area ’for students to engage in ‘unauthorised activities’.

The Littlehampton Academy was previously told it must install the barrier as a condition of planning permission for its floodlight pitch.

But senior teachers delayed its installation, fearing it would create a ‘serious safeguarding issue’.

The school has now applied to remove the condition altogether.

Councillor Derrick Chester, speaking at Littlehampton Town Council’s planning and transportation committee on Monday said: “I have been to have a look and a listen and what is interesting is between the residents and this pitch is going to be, at some point, the new road and that is the time to have a look at noise management for residents.

“I don’t buy the argument of the school that the kids will have a fag behind it as there are plenty of areas where they can do it anyway.”

The acoustic barrier was intended to minimise the impact of the pitch’s use on nearby residents.

The application, submitted by West Sussex County Council on behalf of the school, was accompanied by a noise impact assessment, which suggested the benefit of the barrier would be negligible.

It stated: “The management of Littlehampton Academy is concerned that the erection of an acoustic fence along the western edge of the artificial turf pitch would create a secluded and difficult to supervise area where students could congregate and engage in unsupervised and unauthorised activities, presenting a potentially serious safeguarding issue.

“In practical terms, the barrier was seen by the school authorities as offering negligible benefit to the occupants of nearby dwellings, partly because of the presence of a grass playing field to the west of the artificial pitch and partly because of the substantial line of planting – providing visual and acoustic screening – between the rear gardens of adjacent dwellings and the school grounds.”

The committee raised no objection to the application, which will be determined by the county council.

Several objections had been lodged by residents at the time the Gazette went to press.

Full details of the application are available on the county council’s website, under the planning reference WSCC/071/15/LU.