New All Weather Pitch
Statement regarding proposed all-weather pitch development jointly issued by
Stephen Beck Chair of Governors and
Bernadette Boyle Headteacher
Bishop Thomas Grant School has spent the last few years working on preparing a planning application to develop its on-site sporting facilities by constructing an all-weather pitch and environmental area which would be used by the pupils and other community groups.
The application has involved wide-ranging surveys of the site to encompass the ecological aspects of the proposals and to ensure a net gain ecologically from the project. The school, its pupils, staff, parents and governors are environmentally very aware and have made this a central tenet of the proposals. We are clear that rather than see the woodlands disappear through lack of interest and care, our application is part of an attempt to manage the site properly and improve its environmental impact, which surveys have demonstrated is currently minimal. We believe that no habitats or animals will be affected, and the proposal to include a pond will enhance the habitat. We also look forward to using the newly designed site as a teaching aid to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the environment. To this end, we have spent significant time meeting the environmental requirements and adapting our proposal to meet all legislative conditions and constraints. We believe we have fulfilled these requirements.
Others have made past attempts to create housing on the site, to which we were very much opposed. Our plans for the site are to enhance the environment, not destroy it.
The school finds it difficult to meet its sporting curriculum requirements for its students and the pitch, which would only take up a tiny part of the site, would not interfere with the view across to the South Downs. It is certainly not our intention to build a leisure centre on the site or any other buildings that would expand the school's footprint. Plans are also included to give the general public access to the site through local environmental groups at various times in the year. Likewise, it is intended to open the school pitch for community use so local people can benefit from the facilities.
Whilst acknowledging the development works will cause some disruption in the short term, we believe the overall gains will in the longer term mitigate this and the school will work with local residents to ensure the amelioration of such issues. We firmly believe the proposals are enhancements and not detrimental to the environment or local people.