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Haverhill New Croft football ground to benefit from new 3G artificial grass pitch after West Suffolk Council planning committee vote unanimously to approve

Haverhill residents will benefit from a new artificial grass football pitch as proposals to transform the site have been approved, despite concerns from neighbours.

The New Croft, home to Haverhill Rovers and Haverhill Borough Football Club, will see a 3G pitch replace two grass pitches which are currently not always useable due to issues with flooding.

Today, councillors on the West Suffolk Council Development and Control Committee voted unanimously to approve the plans, which include a steel storage container, six 15m high floodlights, a landscape bund and an acoustic fence.

Haverhill New Croft pitches, off Chalkstone Way. Picture: Google maps (63407883)
Haverhill New Croft pitches, off Chalkstone Way. Picture: Google maps (63407883)

This was despite concerns raised by neighbouring residents who said parking in the area is already an issue, with cars parking on grass verges at peak times, and shared worries around noise.

In a statement read to councillors, neighbours Mr and Mrs Grant said the noise from the pitch, which was proposed to be open from 8am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 8pm on weekends, would be unbearable and would have a serious impact on their lives.

But applicant Peter Betts, facilities and football development manager at Haverhill Community Sports Association who rent and operate the site, said during the meeting: "The health and wellbeing benefits for this scheme far outweigh everything, I think. There is a clear need for health and wellbeing facilities in our area."

He added that the facilities would help young people in the area stay out of trouble, and also could be used by SEND children and young people with additional needs as well as hard-to-reach groups in the area.

Concerns were raised by councillors around the issue of parking - the site has 125 spaces and an informal agreement has been arranged with Samuel Ward Academy that their car park can be used for overflow when the school is not open.

Cllr John Burns, who represents Haverhill, said this informal agreement with the school should be firmed up to ensure parking did not become more of an issue in the area.

Cllr Nick Clarke said it was good to see Haverhill getting some investment, and added that it sometimes feels the town is 'hard done by'.

Council officers proposed a condition that the opening hours of the site would be 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday in an effort to reduce noise in unsociable hours.

The council voted unanimously in favour of the construction of the pitch.