New sports facility plan put on hold

Easington Lane Primary School.
Easington Lane Primary School.
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PLANS to create a state-of-the-art sports facility attached to a primary school have been put on hold amid fears neighbours could be disturbed by noise.

The proposal to build a new multi-use games area (Muga), at Easington Lane Primary School, was part of a £600,000 plan to boost its capacity to cope with an increase in demand for places.

The planning application was considered by the Hetton, Houghton and Washington development control sub-committee, which approved the application to build two new classrooms.

However, in a supplementary report circulated at the meeting, Sunderland City Council’s children’s services withdrew the part of the application relating to the sports area, pending a noise assessment.

The games area was due to be built on the western part of the school playing field, allowing pupils to play football, hockey and tennis all-year round.

The floodlit facility, which would have been enclosed by mesh fencing, would be accessed via gates and a ramp south of the pitch.

It had been anticipated that it would be hired out to members of the public outside of school hours.

These plans have now been put on hold so that the build of three, single-storey extensions will not be delayed.

The build will boost capacity by 105 pupils, with two of the three proposed extensions on the two-hectare site replacing temporary classrooms, to provide permanent facilities for Key Stage 1 and 2 children. The third extension will take the form of a small infill development.

Large housing developments around the High Street East school – expected to total about 450 new homes, could result in between 50 and 112 extra primary aged children.

This, coupled with increased birth rates, means there is a need to increase the number of classrooms by two, to 11.

Public Health officers say the operation of the sports facility after hours “has the potential to cause noise disturbance to the residential properties near to the site, with noise potentially being generated from players using the Muga, spectators and vehicles arriving and leaving the site”, and that in the absence of a noise assessment, the full impact is not known.

Once this has been carried out, it is expected a new planning application will be submitted for the Muga.

One neighbour has expressed concerns that the Muga may encourage on-street parking.

However, the planning report says both areas of the school car park will be available for use after staff have left for the day.