New pitch will ‘enhance’ school’s sports facilities

Banbridge High School Principal Andrew Bell on site at the new sports pitch at the school� Edward Byrne Photography INBL1516-216EB
Banbridge High School Principal Andrew Bell on site at the new sports pitch at the school� Edward Byrne Photography INBL1516-216EB

Banbridge High School Principal Andrew Bell has welcomed planning approval for a new 2G hockey pitch being constructed at the local school.

Mr Bell said that the new pitch, which will replace the original shale pitch, will “enhance” the school’s sporting facilities for all pupils.

The proposal, which also includes an upgrade to the perimeter fencing, has been given the go-ahead by planners.

Speaking about the new 2G hockey pitch at the High School, Mr. BellBell said: “The new pitch, which can also be used for football and as an athletics track, will enhance further our sporting facilities at the school for all our students.

“This is particularly welcome at a time of economic restraint and we would like thank the Education Authority, Southern Region, for this significant investment in the school at this time.

“The provision of the new 2G synthetic sand dressed hockey pitch, has been possible through the then SELB Minor works programme.

“We are delighted with the progress that has been made by the contractors over a short period of time.

“The school is also hopeful that a proposed 3G football pitch at the school may emerge in the near future when further funding from within the local community becomes available.

“We are all looking forward to the completion of the construction phase of the programme so that the new modern hockey pitch can be put to good use.”

The current shale pitch has been in use for more than 15 years, and given the nature of the playing surface, there are limitations on when the pitch can be used by the school for sports purposes. The new playing surface will potentially allow the pitch to be used during dry and wet conditions.

The proposal includes the installation of a 3m high mesh fence along the north eastern site boundary, adjacent to the residential properties of Legion Court and Newry Road, replacing an existing 2m mesh fence.

Planners said it is not considered that the increase in height of this boundary will have any detrimental impact on the residential amenity of the adjacent properties.

Meanwhile, they said the new 5m high mesh fencing behind both goal ends of the pitch will not affect residential amenity due to mature trees along the boundary with those properties.

The proposal is within an area of designated for its potential impact on Archaeological Monuments, namely Raths.

NIEA Historic Monuments were consulted and confirmed the proposal will not adversely affect archaeological sites or monuments which are of local importance.