Casebook: Appeal cases - Leisure and entertainment - Pitch levelling held no threat to local amenity

The deposit of topsoil to improve the gradient of a football pitch in Somerset has been allowed following a finding that it would not harm the character or appearance of the surrounding area or the amenities of nearby residents.

The club's progression through various leagues had necessitated constant changes to the ground and its facilities. The appeal proposal was intended to enable further progress up the hierarchy. The council was concerned that this could lead to a more intensive use of the ground, thus harming the character and appearance of the area.

The council argued that the development would lead to a loss of privacy for the residents of dwellings next to a corner of the site due to overlooking from the pitch. It also maintained that the use of heavy machinery and the movement of heavy lorries would be detrimental to the living conditions of residents.

The inspector found that since only three relatively small areas of the pitch would be affected, the visual impact on the surrounding area would be negligible. The import of soil and earth-moving activity would only take place over a short period and any effect on residents would be tolerable, he held. He contended that players on the raised areas of the pitch would be moving and watching play, so the likelihood that they would look outwards into neighbouring gardens was extremely remote.

DCS No: 52212009; Inspector: Trevor Cookson; Written representations.

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