CHILDREN at a Selby school have had their daily afternoon break cancelled and been banned from playing ball at other playtimes because neighbours have complained they are too noisy.

Barlby Community Primary School, in Hill Top, has been on the site for 100 years, but three neighbours in Acorn Close have complained to Selby District Council about the noise the 350 children make at playtimes. Football has now been banned in the playground and the afternoon break cancelled. The complaints have been met with disgust by local councillor Brian Marshall.

He said: “I am fuming. There has been a school on that site for more than 100 years. Why did they buy a house next to a school? For young children to be out playing and laughing, there is nothing nicer. The governors should do nothing and let the children play.”

But one resident, who refused to say whether he had complained or not, said the old school had been demolished and then rebuilt, which now meant the noise was channelled through the houses adjoining the playground. It was also suggested that another complaint had been made because an estate agent had told the householder the noise devalued the house.

In a letter to parents, Alistair McCloud, chairman of the governors, said the school refuted all suggestions there was a problem with noise. But in an attempt to be a good neighbour, the school had arranged for an acoustic fence to be put up.

However, this did not satisfy the complainers and the moans continued. An offer to erect a further fence this year was rejected by the neighbours, who instead asked that the children’s fun be curtailed.

Break times are now staggered so fewer children are in the playground at any one time. The neighbours have also made official complaints to Selby District Council. A spokesman said: “We have a statutory responsibility to follow up noise complaints. We’ve been in contact with the school to discuss this. We’ve taken no specific enforcement action at this time, as our approach is to try and resolve this issue through negotiation.”

School governor Suzanne Douglas said the school was now spending money on another acoustic study and was looking at installing another acoustic fence at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds.

When The Press visited the school yesterday noise consultant David Garritt was there recording the noise levels.

He said he had been employed by the school to monitor the levels and would make more random visits over the next couple of weeks to determine how noisy the children were.

Laky Sahota, of Play England, said he was concerned the decision to cut the afternoon break was not “focused on the best interest of the child”. He said a lack of play time impacted on children’s ability to plan and concentrate.

‘They should move if they don’t like it’

Kirsten Farndale, of Bramley Avenue in Barlby, said she had two sons at the school who wanted to play football but now were not allowed to. Mrs Farndale said: “I just think it’s ridiculous, they shouldn’t move next to a school if they can’t put up with the noise. It is noisy, it’s a school and there are children playing.”

Elaine Spooner, who lives in Acorn Close, said she had grandchildren and godchildren at the school. She said: “The children are at school, what do you want them to do? I think the people who have complained] are small-minded. There’s nothing as nice as hearing kids play, It’s not as if it’s a senior school where you might get bad language.”