PLANS to build an artificial football pitch on the grounds of a north Leeds school are on hold, for now.

Councillors wanted more information before deciding whether or not Guiseley School, on Fieldhead Road in the town, can lay a new all-weather 3G surface.

The school, supported by Guiseley Juniors FC, says the pitch is needed to provide year-round sports facilities for its pupils and would be used by the community and children's teams in the evenings.

But objectors claim there will be too much noise and issues with car parking, with one telling a planning meeting on Thursday it would cause “bedlam”.

Resident Simon Branston told councillors the plans had no regard for “disabled, autistic and vulnerable residents” living nearby, given the likelihood of “unpredictable and excessive noise, whistles and shouting”.

He said: “If you look at the car parking in Guiseley at the moment, it’s massively congested.

“How many parents will follow the rules and drop their children off in the car park where it involves quite a circuitous route? It would stop local residents and visitors being able to get places and it would cause havoc.

“And when there’s noises and horns and other things as well, it’s going to be absolutely bedlam in Guiseley.”

But the school insists it will police car parking and ban people using the facility if they leave their cars along the surrounding roads, rather than in the designated spaces on the site.

Roger Gavin, the school’s finance manager, said: “We are the only secondary school in Aireborough that doesn’t have an AGP (atificial grass pitch) and this is to the detriment of our young students.

“We currently have to travel to other pitches in the area to deliver the curriculum.

“This is fast becoming unsustainable and operationally difficult, due to the increased travel time, costs and having to book pitches when required due to significant demand.”

Mr Gavin said that in the winter, the site’s grassed fields were often “unplayable” and estimated around 50 days of school sport a year was lost as a result.

“There’s a mental health impact of the children not getting out in the winter because it’s waterlogged,” he added. “That happens a lot.”

Under planning conditions, whistles would also be banned after 7pm to protect local residents. It means the pitches would only be used for non-competitive training after that time, rather than local league matches needing a referee.

The plans are now due to come back before councillors for a decision at a later date.

The proposal comes forward despite the looming prospect of an EU ban on rubber crumb pitches, on environmental grounds. Sport England, which is considered the authority voice on the matter in this country, insists they’re safe and there are no alternative materials available for the pitches yet.

It means the council can’t reject the application on those concerns.