PLANS put forward by a school to build new playing fields over agricultural land have been met with mixed reviews.

Sherfield School, in South Drive, Sherfield-on-Loddon has submitted a planning application which involves the creation of an extended playing field, an all-weather artificial grass pitch surrounded by perimeter fencing and a new footpath connecting it to the school.

In the planning application, Nick Fisher, head teacher at the school, said: “A new artificial grass pitch at Sherfield will hugely benefit the school on a number of levels.

“It will provide a safe, usable surface to play sport on when weather conditions deteriorate. It will also enable the school to introduce hockey as a new sport.”

The new playing fields will allow the school to host fixtures for hockey and football, when previously they would have to travel away to play.

In the application, Mr Fisher added: “The quality of performance will increase due to a more consistent surface to play on during lessons.”

The PE department at the school outlined in the application how it believes the new pitch will heighten the profile of sport within the school and will lead to an increase in participation.

However, due to the position of the playing fields along with the surrounding perimeter fence there have been strong objections from conservationist groups.

They have outlined concerns about the effect the new playing fields and all-weather pitch would have on the natural landscape and the enjoyment of walkers.

The Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, has responded to the application, It said: “The all-weather pitch with its fences will urbanise a part of the countryside adjacent to a popular public footpath.

“It would also dominate the view from the footpath, totally changing the experience enjoyed by passing walkers who will take several minutes to pass it.”

The Bramley and Sherfield ward councillor Venetia Rowland stated that she did not have an objection to the planning application but added: “There is a large amount of light pollution in the area due to the boarding house that has been built.

“I would not like to see any more.”

The decision is due to be made by Tuesday, 10 October.

To comment on the proposal, go to and search using the reference code 17/02248/FUL.