Villagers concerned about plan for pitches in Barleythorpe

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VILLAGERS held an emergency meeting to discuss the plans for two football pitches.

Residents in Barleythorpe discussed plans submitted to Rutland County Council by Oakham United Football Club to create two pitches with floodlights and a clubhouse in the grounds of Barleythorpe Hall and next to the new Rutland County College.

Last week members of the development control and licensing committee referred the decision to full council after a split vote.

Villagers in Barleythorpe immediately jumped into action and called the meeting to understand the decision and find out what it means to them.

So far Rutland County Council has received 25 objections and 18 letters in support of the football pitches.

Barleythorpe resident Fiona Gibson, of Manor Lane said: “None of us are against football pitches and would welcome them in the right place but I do not think that the council has made any effort to look for alternate sites. It is endeavouring to give itself planning permission on what is after all the local community’s land.

“Why not put them alongside the new rugby pitches on the bypass and share their facilities or on what is already a sports field opposite the existing sixthform college? Neither blighting a beautiful and peaceful side of the village.”

Residents in the village are particularly concerned about the floodlights as they will back onto some of the gardens in Manor Lane.

Barleythorpe ward member Richard Gale (Rutland Anti-Corruption Party) attended the meeting and told residents to keep a united front against the plans.

The residents plan to make their argument heard by full council when they meet at Catmose on Monday, May 21.

Supporters of the plans include representatives from Rutland County College.

Head of the college Carl Smith said: “We are in discussions with Oakham United about sharing the football facilities if the plans are passed by the council.

“It will provide students with extra facilities which will enrich their time at the college and would be a huge asset.”

Oakham United train and play at Catmose College because there are no adult football facilities in the town.