All weather pitches: “community’s views must be heard”

Public meeting to coordinate community response

baptist sign A public meeting has been called to coordinate a community response to plans for all weather football pitches and a “clubhouse” at Bitterne Park Secondary School. It takes place at Bitterne Park Baptist Church Hall, Wellington Road on Tuesday August 12 from 7.30-9pm.


Residents say the “clubhouse” will include a “licensed sports bar” in the middle of an established residential area, run for profit by a commercial company. They are concerned about late night opening, and that the facility will not be under the control of the School. They’re particularly worried about noise, traffic and parking. Football pitches will apparently also be open — and floodlit — until 10.30pm every night of the week. The real benefit of the operation to a “specialist arts school”, and to the wider community, is also being questioned.

Residents believe that the consultation with the community has been insufficient, and that neither the Council nor the School were aware, when the limited consultation did take place, of exact proposals. But there is now a determination to make sure the community’s views are heard when the application goes before the Council’s planning panel.

Denham objects

So far over 80 letters of objection have been sent by residents and parents of school pupils, over 200 residents have signed petitions opposing the plans, and Itchen MP John Denham has also lodged an objection.

Members of the school’s own governing body are even said to have objected, and two have apparently commented on this website. “As a governor of the school, I do not recall this being discussed in detail,” said one reader, who continued:  “I cannot believe that a proposal effectively to set up a social club on school grounds will have gone through ‘on the nod’. I have just objected on the council's website. It seems irresponsible when we are trying to combat teenage drinking to set up another alcohol outlet within school grounds.”

Another reader commented: “I am a member of the School's governing body, and I can assure you that we did not know, let alone approve, of the plan to include a licensed bar/function room, completely outside the School's control, on the School site. Nor did we approve of a transfer of land ownership.”

But it seems that any change in use of school land (including a lease) must in fact have the approval of school governors.

Local residents, the local media, the ward councillors, John Denham MP, representatives of the school and the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team have been invited to the public meeting on August 12.

To post a comment about this issue on, please do so under our original story here.

Further information:
To be added to the residents’ email list for further information when it becomes available, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you want to make your concerns known to the School’s Board of Governors before they consider the development, residents ask that you send them to the email address above and they will be passed on.


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