NEW proposals to create an all-weather sports pitch in the grounds of an Otley school are to be submitted within weeks.

Prince Henry's Grammar School's original plan to have a 'community Astro Turf pitch' constructed on the field in front of its main building were withdrawn in early 2019.

That was because concerns had been raised about the scheme's impact on a nearby bat roost - though the plan had also proved divisive beyond that, with local residents voicing concerns about the facility's likely impact in terms of noise and light pollution.

Earlier this year the school confirmed that it would be relaunching its bid to have the scheme approved by planners, following a year's 'pause' which had allowed further ecological surveys to be undertaken.

Now, in a new message to members of the community, Prince Henry's has announced that its amended proposals are just about ready to be lodged with Leeds City Council's planning department.

The e-mail says: "I am writing to let you know that, following delays due to the pandemic, we are now moving forward with a planning application for the community 3G pitch at Prince Henry’s, with the support of our local partners and the Football Foundation.

"We expect to submit the planning application in the next couple of weeks. The application includes several modifications from the application we submitted two years ago.

"The full package of measures and the planning application will be available on the Leeds City Council planning portal, once it is validated."

The changes that have been made since the original proposal include:

*The pitch's position has been rotated to move it further away from the majority of neighbouring housing

*The 'acoustic fencing' around the facility is being extended to further reduce any noise

*The lighting has been upgraded so that the lux level (brightness measurement) will now reach zero at ground level before the tree line

*An 'extensive environmental package', including a range of measures to support local wildlife and biodiversity, has been put together.

The original plan attracted hundreds of comments split just about 50/50 between supporters of the pitch and those opposed to it.

The critics included homeowners worried about losing their peace and quiet, especially in the evenings and weekends, as well as other issues including parking, traffic, pollution and the impact on wildlife.

Supporters of the scheme, meanwhile, include a number of key partner local sports clubs - such as Otley Town AFC - along with Sport England and the Football Foundation.

Local residents told the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer in July, when the school announced it was putting together an amended proposal, that they remained to be convinced - though they were interested to see the detail in the new application.

One, who asked not to be named, said: "The close proximity to homes remains the key major issue, along with noise and light pollution, increased traffic and the environmental impact."