Pitch closed in noise row

HADLEIGH sports groups have been unable to use an all-weather pitch as they await a council’s decision on whether the facility is too noisy, writes Elliot Pinkham.

Residents of Station Road, whose properties back on to the Astroturf pitch at Hadleigh High Leisure Centre, complained they had to put up with footballers swearing, shouting and even urinating against their fences, in addition to the sound of footballs hitting the fence.

Following noise monitoring, Babergh District Council served a noise abatement notice on Hadleigh High School at the end of April.

Leisure centre manager Chris Marsh said: “The Astroturf is not being used currently as an earlier attempt to resolve the fence noise had failed.

“The school appointed an acoustics engineer, who carried out tests on several systems. Further adaptations to the fence have been carried out and more recent tests have shown that the resultant improvement has been greater than projections.

“A report has been sent to Babergh and we await its decision as to whether the recent works have brought the fence within tolerable levels of nuisance.”

Ken Lewis, of Station Road, said residents were still concerned about the noise levels.

“Time will tell, as the pitch has not been used yet since the work,” he said. “I’ve no doubt that it will go towards reducing the level of impact noise, but we’re still going to be left with the shouting and bad language problems.”

The centre is due to undergo changes at the end of the month, as the South Suffolk Leisure Trust, which runs Hadleigh Swimming Pool in Stonehouse Road and Sudbury’s Kingfisher Leisure Centre, takes over management.

A Babergh District Council spokeswoman said: “The school has been working hard to ensure the pitch can continue to be used as a community facility, while securing the rights of local residents to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet.

“Our environmental officer has contacted the school to arrange a visit at the earliest opportunity to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the works carried out.

“The abatement notice refers solely to noise caused by balls hitting the fencing.

“Other complaints have been properly investigated and no evidence of a statutory nuisance has been found.”