Pitch is granted, but with controls

RUGBY fans in Morpeth have won consent for a permanent extra pitch, but with controls on traffic and noise.

An application was submitted to Northumberland County Council for the change of use from agricultural to a rugby pitch and playing field at Mitford Road.

Support came from Sport England, Mitford Parish Council and 33 individuals, but some neighbours voiced concern about potential noise and harm to views in the Wansbeck valley, and five letters of objection were submitted.

The county’s North Area Planning Committee unanimously agreed to approve the permanent use of the pitch, currently played on 28 days a year. The intention is to leave the goalposts there, but not introduce any more structures.

James Macara, of Newminster Villas, told the meeting of noisy training days and traffic problems. On Sunday mornings there were sometimes 200 or 300 people on the field, he said.

He feared a view across the valley to Newminster Abbey was threatened and wondered about the flood risk.

“I’m not against the rugby club at all — my objection is to the physical structures, changing rooms, floodlights,” he said.

Councillor Andrew Tebbutt backed the recommendation of granting permission for only a year, saying residents must be listened to and the situation reviewed.

Rugby Club President John Price, a senior estate surveyor at the county council, referred to the club’s record of bringing on generations of players and said there had never been complaints of noise in 12 years of use.

Coun David Moore said he took his life in his hands when he drove a horsebox on that stretch of road because of car parking. The club is not allowed to park on the farmland.

He moved the officers’ recommendation to approve, but with the addition of conditions controlling parking and noise.