Hadleigh: Sports group banned from using new pitch over noise complaints

SPORTS groups have been left unable to use a new �150,000 floodlit Astro-turf games area because of complaints about noise.

Money to pay for the facility at Hadleigh High School Leisure Centre was raised by pupils and staff at the school, supplemented by a grant from Babergh District Council.

But shortly after the multi-use games area opened, residents of neighbouring Station Road and Lister Road lodged official complaints about the noise caused by balls hitting a perimeter fence.

The council responded by serving a noise abatement notice at the end of April, and Hadleigh High School, which owns and manages the sports centre, was ordered to soundproof the fence.

But centre manager Chris Marsh confirmed that until Babergh’s environmental health officer gives the improvements the go-ahead, the pitch cannot be used.

She added: “The work has now been carried out on the fence and we are waiting for the environmental health officer to inspect it and see if what we have done is enough for the ban to be lifted.

“At the moment, the five-a-side group which uses the facility has been training indoors, but if it gets to the new season and this situation still hasn’t been resolved, then I am sure we will have a lot of angry club members.”

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A spokesman for Babergh said the formal notice requiring the school to act within 60 days, had been served after it was established that the ‘clanging’ noise from balls hitting the fencing was particularly intrusive to residents, and amounted to a ‘statutory nuisance’.

She said: “This type of notice merely helps residents seek some respite from the frequent clanging noise, either by a reduction of the noise level or the frequency of occurrence, particularly in the summer evenings and at weekends when they wish to enjoy their gardens.”

She added: “Babergh and the school are working together to ensure that this is resolved for all concerned – both residents and users of the facility.”

Hadleigh town clerk Carol Bailey said several people attending the annual town meeting in May had complained about the noise, adding: “The town council offered to mediate between the residents and the school because it was something everyone clearly felt strongly about.”

Ms Marsh said the leisure centre was in a state of “limbo” as management of the facility is due to be taken over by the South Suffolk Leisure Trust at the end of August.

A new Hadleigh Pool and Leisure Centre is due to open this autumn and some services will transfer to the new facility.

The extent of how services currently offered at Hadleigh High School Leisure Centre will be affected is not yet known.

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