LONG-AWAITED major sporting plans at a private school in York are being opposed by city planners.

The planning committee of City of York Council is recommended to oppose the scheme at St Peter’s School after the council received hundreds of objections.

The school, the fourth oldest in the world- and founded by St Paulinus of York in 627AD- seeks to build a floodlit hockey pitch, tennis and netball courts, cricket nets, car and coach parking and waiting area, vehicular access and grounds maintenance hut.

Since the plans were first submitted in November 2022, the application in the ‘general extent’ of the York Green Belt, has been amended  to address objections on highway, ecology, landscape and flood risk and drainage grounds.


The development seeks a 126 seat viewing stand with spectator standing area, 78 parking spaces, a two lane access road, 8 floodlit hockey pitches with 18 floodlights 15 metres high, 6 floodlit tennis/netball courts with 9 floodlights 10 metres high and fencing 6 metres high; a floodlit cricket and netball practise area with floodlights 8 metres high, a grounds maintenance office and a tractor store.

Some community letting/use of the proposed is suggested as part of the application.

However, council planning staff note massive objections.

York Press: Artists impression of the scheme

Clifton Planning Panel object saying the scheme would harm the residential amenity of nearby homes due to the noise and light pollution it would generate.

Public consultation saw 239 objections, including from ward councillor Danny Myers. But there were 117 letters of support.

Objectors said the sports facilities would fuel car use in the area, the floodlighting and noise of players would harm neighbours and more hardstanding would increase flood risk. Trees and wildlife would also be harmed. It was also inappropriate development for Green Belt, which would also harm the setting of the Clifton and Central Historic Core Conservation Areas.

York Civic Trust also said the scheme would harm the setting of such conservation areas and Sport England said the scheme would take space used by cricket.

Assessing the issues council planners agreed the scheme harm the openness of the Green Belt, and high-density sports use would disturb wildlife such as insects and bats.

But the scheme would improve school facilities, with some available for community use, they noted.

The officers concluded despite such benefits, taking all the factors into consideration, the scheme did not deliver the very special circumstances needed for a development in the Green Belt.

York Press: The site of the planned facilities

The floodlit hockey pitches with tennis and netball courts would harm the residential amenity of neighbouring properties. The extra traffic generated might be too much for roads in the area to cope with. The scheme would also harm the the local character of the site.

Whilst the site remains in the Green Belt, very special circumstances cannot not be demonstrated.

“The proposal is therefore unacceptable in planning terms and refusal is recommended, their conclusion added.

The planning committee meeting is on Thursday March 7.