A LATE flurry of supportive comments have been received for plans to create an artificial sports pitch at Otley.

Prince Henry’s Grammar School is seeking permission to build the all-weather facility on the field in front of its main building. The scheme would see the pitch being made available to the wider community and is being supported by Sport Chevin, local clubs, the Football Foundation and Sport England.

Neighbouring residents, however, say it would be too close and could destroy their peace and quiet - given proposed daily opening times of up to 10pm.

By January 25, 67 objections had been lodged on Leeds City Council’s planning portal and only eight messages of support.

By the closing date of Friday, February 1 however the number of supportive comments (146) had overtaken a final tally of about 136 objections.

Among those voicing their support was Otley Town Council Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield. His comment said: “I understand and appreciate some of the concerns raised by residents and neighbours. Some of these need addressing further by PHGS and I would urge Leeds City Council to take this into account, as I believe the school wishes to be a good neighbour and needs to demonstrate that it can manage the operation of the proposed facility in an efficient and responsive way.

“I believe the weight of benefits to the community, in terms of desperately needed access to all-weather facilities and the health benefits of extending access to sporting activities across age groups and gender, outweigh neighbour concerns.”

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) lodged a ‘general’ comment which voiced support for facilities that encourage sport. Referring to fears about lighting, noise and usage times, he said: “I urge you strongly to take these concerns seriously given that some of the residents are elderly and the impact of any building works, combined with late-night usage, will impinge on their enjoyment of their homes.” He added: “Wherever the pitch is situated it must be ensured there is minimal disruption to residents and local wildlife.”

One neighbouring resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “As expected there have been a lot of comments from both sides. Many in support, however are from people whose comments are headed ‘neighbour comment’ even though they live in Ilkley, Adel, Cookridge, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Horsforth etcetera. I have faith in the planning system and trust that the plans panel will decide this application on planning issues only.”