Academy bids to sell playing field for housing

First published in News

SPORT England could scupper Banbury Academy’s bid to sell part of its playing field for houses.

Councillors will tonight be asked to approve the plan for 50 homes, along with a new all-weather pitch and sports hall extension. But this will be conditional on Sport England removing its objection for the Ruskin Road academy’s plan.

The former Banbury School said the sell-off is vital to pay for the new £750,000 facilities and the land is “not formally” used for sport.

But Sport England is “not fully convinced” by the school’s arguments that there would be enough playing pitches in Banbury left.

Spokesman Amy Wright said: “We are currently working with the applicant to resolve our objection.”

A 164-signature petition and six residents’ letters opposed the plan – to include 15 affordable homes. Concerns include extra noise, light, traffic and the loss of the field.

But Banbury Town Council said the all-weather pitch would enhance the academy’s sport provision, while district council housing chiefs said it would help meet “extremely high” demand for affordable housing.

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Cherwell’s planning committee will be asked to give outline permission, conditional on Sport England’s backing.

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