‘IT is simply in the wrong place’.

That is the view of Otley residents who are vowing to step up opposition to an all-weather football pitch being built close to their homes.

Prince Henry’s Grammar School wants to create the £710,000, floodlit facility on the sports field in front of its main building, which backs onto neighbouring houses.

Part-funded by the Football Foundation, the pitch would also be available to the wider community and is being supported by a number of local sports clubs.

Residents, however, fear it would ruin their ability to relax in their homes and gardens - some of which stand only a few metres from the proposed location.

Gillian Spencer, from Prince Henry’s Court, said: “We accept the normal weekday noise generated by the school - this existed when we moved in and is acceptable.

“What is not acceptable is that we should live within a few metres of a facility which will generate excessive noise, significant light pollution and an exacerbation of already chronic traffic problems from (potentially) 9am to 10pm, seven days a week, including holiday periods.

“We have no objections to a pitch per se but it needs to be where it will not destroy the quality of life for a large number of people.

“The proposal is being sold as a ‘community asset’. It has been said that more than 60 teams have expressed an interest in using such a pitch.

“Many of these teams (including Guiseley FC) are from outside Otley, so how is that a benefit to the local community?”

Several householders have also taken issue with the school’s claim that more than 83 per cent of some 500 responses, so far, to an online survey about the pitch had been ‘positive’.

David Turnell, of Prince Henry’s Court, believes the wording of the survey - at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y2WPBVT - encourages people to answer generally, rather than about the specific proposal.

He said: “The only relevant questions to the source of the ‘83 per cent’ figure were: 2. How would you rate the current all-weather sporting facilities in Otley and at PHGS? That was followed by: 3. Would you support the development of an all-weather 3G sports surface that would allow sporting activities to take place all year round?

“Anyone saying the facilities in Otley were poor would then have had to answer positively to question 3, which does not refer to Prince Henry’s Grammar School.”

Neighbour Jim Loftus added: “The school has not sought the advice of local residents, we had the initial letter back in May and even then not all locals were sent a copy.

“This survey was not carried out amongst residents as intimated but opened online to all and sundry - of course people not affected will vote in favour!

“They should have a survey of all the houses surrounding the pitch.”

Brian Lydamore, from Newall Hall park, added: “Their survey is cleverly manipulated toward the supporters of such a facility without including the details of the location.”

Many of the neighbouring householders say the scheme would also exacerbate local parking, traffic and pollution problems.

But Alec Spencer summed up the main objection. He said: “This is just too near residential properties - it would be within ten metres of some of the houses here, how can that be deemed to be reasonable?

“It is simply in the wrong place and some of the people whose homes would be closest are in their eighties.”

*Otley Town Council, meanwhile, has already agreed that the pitch would be a suitable candidate to apply, if it proceeds, to its Investing in Otley Fund.

Town Council Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield), in his response to a letter from concerned residents, said: “I believe that the wider and deeper benefits to the community that come with the facility outweigh the concerns raised, yet I reiterate that I expect the school to make every effort to mitigate the impact on its neighbours.

“The practical reality is that we now need to see the detailed proposal in the planning application, with clarity about amendments that have been made to address neighbours’ concerns.

“Planning will then run its course and make a decision. If planning is approved, then PHGS are eligible to formally apply to the town council for an element of the funding they seek and this will be considered according to the criteria set out for the Investing in Otley Fund.”