PLANS to convert a grass playing pitch at a Wilmslow sports club to an all-weather surface with spectator stand have been recommended for approval.

Wilmslow Phoenix Sports Club boasts four grass lacrosse pitches, one multi-sport which is predominantly used for hockey, an all-weather surface pitch and a cricket square with outfield as well as a clubhouse and car park.

The proposed development site comprises an existing grass pitch area with an informal overflow car parking area and associated access.

The club, off Styal Road, has applied to Cheshire East Council to convert this to an Astroturf all-weather surface with lighting and spectator stand and to convert the existing overflow area to form associated formal parking.

In a report due to go before Wednesday’s (August 10) meeting of the northern planning committee, the planning officer states while the proposals meet the aims of enhancing and protecting an existing outdoor sports venue within an existing open space, the application ‘does not preserve the openness of the Green Belt, and is therefore inappropriate development in the Green Belt’.

But he continues the proposals would address the highlighted need for further all-weather, multi-sport, Astroturf pitches within this area of Cheshire East to support the provision of outdoor sporting offer and promote healthy lifestyles.

“This is considered to amount to the required very special circumstances to outweigh the identified harm to the Green Belt,” states the officer in the report, which recommends approval.

The new pitch would have steel mesh enclosures up to 4m in height in green to match the existing Astroturf pitch, with 6.3m tall sections of these behind goal areas, with associated landscaping, block paving and 15m flood lighting masts.

The plans also include a 75-seat spectator stand and four floodlights aligned to the northern and southern boundaries of the pitch.

Styal Parish Council supports the application but did raise a few concerns including suggesting an 8pm cut-off on the closest pitch to houses because of the external lighting.

Seven letters backing the scheme have been sent to the council welcoming the scheme as an additional facility.

Three letters have been sent to the council objecting the application.

Objections include concerns the doubled amount of floodlights much closer to residential properties is unacceptable and will create light pollution and the development will increase noise disturbance.

The council’s environmental health officers have not objected to the proposal, subject to the hours for the new pitch being restricted to 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm on Saturday, Sundays and bank holidays.

The northern planning committee meeting takes place on Wednesday, August 10 at 10am at Macclesfield Town Hall.