AN artificial floodlit sports pitch for Court Fields School, Wellington, has been given planning permission.

But Somerset Council restricted the height and length of time of the floodlights could be used because of concerns about their impact on the nearby grade two starred listed Wellington Park.

The lights were reduced in height from 50 feet to 43 feet and can only be used between 7 am and 10 pm daily.

Planning officer Anthony Pick said the £1 million project would deliver for an unmet need for a high-quality 3G sporting facility for both the school and the local community.

Mr Pick said it would allow sport to be played through the autumn and winter seasons and met the Government’s aim of promoting healthy communities through physical activity.

He said the artificial pitch in the school sports field next to Wellington Recreation Ground would not significantly affect residents, road safety, or wildlife.

Although there would be an adverse impact on the neighbouring park, the wider public benefits of the sports facility outweighed the harm.

Mr Pick said residents in Mantle Street had expressed concerns about increased noise and light pollution but they were too far away for there to be any adverse impact.

Approval of the Court Fields plan was delayed because of the need to amend it to take into consideration the concerns of Historic England about the impact on the park, which meant the school missed its aim of starting the development during the autumn.

The 71,600 sq ft pitch will use more than one-third of the sports field and will be surrounded by a 15 feet high steel mesh fence.

Wellington Town Council, which supported the application, has pledged £150,000 toward the cost of the development

Tom Betts, project designer for artificial sports turf firm S&C Slatter, said the facility would allow high-quality structured football and rugby match play and training, and would avoid the need for matches to be cancelled in poor winter weather conditions.

• At the same time, Somerset Council has also approved plans for an access road to junior sports pitches which are to be created on land at the Longforth Farm housing estate, in Wellington.

Developers Bloor Homes has to provide serviced land for the pitches as part of a legal agreement with the council.

Planning officer Karen Wray said a short section of access road and a turning facility would be built for the site off Lillebonne Way, close to Isambard Kingdom Brunel Primary School, without any adverse impact on the highway or the local area.

The town council supported the application and has earmarked £50,000 to help develop the sports pitches.