Sports ground plans opposed over bird fears

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PLANS to set up a new sports ground in a village have been met with opposition over concerns for a rare species of bird.

Weeting Parish Council wants to set up three football pitches of varying sizes for the village’s four teams on land, in Lynn Road.

They are seeking planning permission from Breckland Council to change the use of the site from agricultural to sports and recreation.

However, the RSPB has objected to the move as the site is next to land which is part of the Breckland Special Protection Area (SPA) for its stone curlew population.

In a letter to the council, Mike Jones, conservation officer for RSPB Eastern England, said: “The proposal has provided no information on the potential impacts on stone curlews therefore it cannot be demonstrated that the application would not adversely affect the integrity of the SPA and therefore permission should be refused.”

The proposal has been backed by various sports organisations.

David Skipp, vice chairman of Breckland and District Sunday Football League, said: “One of the biggest difficulties we have as a league in promoting football is quite simply the lack of available pitches. Anything that can be done to reverse this trend will meet with our strong support.”

Norrie Dickson, of Norfolk County Football Association, said: “Not only will this provide a badly needed additional facility but it will also encourage local participation.”

District and parish councillor Robert Childerhouse added: “The current facilities, one pitch, is no longer sufficient.”