Surely council has the final say?

I RECENTLY received a letter from The Emmanuel Schools Foundation outlining their proposals for the use of the new sports field currently nearing completion on Plessey Road in Blyth.

Other residents in the immediate vicinity would also have received the same letter, the content of which clearly gives cause for concern.

We are told, for example, that the field’s use – for football, rugby and athletics – will not be confined to school hours, but will extend up to ‘about’ 6pm.

Further, and of much more concern, however, is that there is liable to be community use of this field up to 9pm throughout the week and on Saturdays (as some sort of consolation, or sop, we are told that there will be no floodlights).

These proposals will ensure that residents living in the vicinity will have their lives made miserable by noise from the activities themselves, as well as from the increased traffic with all the parking problems that this will bring.

For those people whose gardens back onto this field, there will be no escape from the shouting that goes with these sports.

For those who live on Plessey Road, there will be difficulty with cars blocking drives, and in people getting parked outside their own homes, the knock-on effect of which will no doubt extend further along an already very busy arterial road. And all this until 9pm at night, six days a week.

Such problems related to sports activities cannot be refuted – for example, everyone in this part of Blyth will be aware of the parking problems caused by the increased use for football of Broadway field, such that parking bays had to be installed.

At South Newsham sports field, even the extending of existing parking spaces has failed to cure the parking overspill there. And witness the number of vehicles parked outside nearby Blyth Rugby and Cricket Club on match days.

Local people will be aware that there has been a history of long-running opposition by residents and their representatives to The Emmanuel Schools Foundation and their two large Bede Academy schools, one in South Beach Estate and the other over in The Avenues.

This opposition was not only over the replacement of perfectly good and much-liked schools by the much bigger academies themselves, but also with regard to fears – since justified – of increased traffic and parking problems adjacent to those sites. By all accounts, these problems continue.

Sadly, however, all such opposition has failed.

One reason given is that the foundation is not subject to the local education authority. This a weak argument.

Surely the council – whether county or parish – has the final say on any plans that impact upon the lives of local residents and council-taxpayers?

And it is quality of life for local people that is at issue here.

I would expect, therefore, that our elected representatives will oppose these plans as set out by The Emmanuel Schools Foundation, successfully this time, and restrict the use of this field to actual school hours, five days only a week.