RESIDENTS have called for a plan to build a new 3G football pitch to be brought before Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee before it is approved.

Woodley Town Council’s proposal to build a £250,000 pitch at Woodford Park could be given the green light as early as tomorrow (Friday) by the borough’s planning officers, despite neighbours’ concerns over noise.

Residents in Farriers Close, which backs on to the park, fear an increase in noise and light pollution in the evenings when players practise, and councillor Coling Lawley believes they should be allowed to air their views in a public arena.

Cllr Lawley, who also lives in the cul-de-sac, believes the town needs more sports facilities but said he would like to see any approval reached “democratically”.

He said: “Had it gone to committee, at least the residents would have been able to put their case to councillors who would then have debated the merits of the application before voting on the outcome in the full view of those at the meeting.”

Resident and former Reading University maths lecturer Barrie Dore fears the pitch will be a disturbance and said: “We think there will be more noise and on a much larger scale.

“There won’t just be people playing on it, but spectators making noise too. Some matches are almost reasonable but there’s often shouting and swearing.

“In the context of the park, it’s going to be an ugly structure. By putting it in they are denying the public around 4,500 square metres for them to use.”

The town and borough councils’ leader Cllr Keith Baker told the Chronicle that he had listened to residents’ concerns about the development but “there was no valid planning reason” for it to go before the committee.

He said: “Just because you don’t like it or you don’t want it doesn’t mean it has to be put in a public forum. You have to have legitimate planning reasons for it to be listed.

“Additional work was done to make changes to the designs, which include sound-proofing boards, and this makes it even more difficult to find a reason to list it.”