Bake Off star Prue Leith objects to prep school’s plan for a hockey pitch and playing field near her Cotswolds home arguing it would be ‘an absolute crime’ to ‘destroy’ the area

  •  Prue Leith objected to school’s plan to install a hockey pitch and playing field
  • Star raised concerns regarding the heritage of the site and its effect on locals
  • Proposal for playing field submitted by Kitebrook Preparatory School this year

Bake Off’s Prue Leith has objected to a school’s plan to install a hockey pitch and playing field in the area and argued the proposed site would be ‘destroyed’ if planning is granted.

The TV judge, 81, has penned a second objection to the plans for a hockey pitch with 49ft-high floodlights at Kitebrook Preparatory School, in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, which sits a stone’s throw away from her Cotswolds home.

She has raised concerns regarding the heritage of the site and is trying to block the proposals which the school say will ‘increase grassroots sport development’. 

The Bake Off star initially wrote an objection to the proposals in June but since then the proposals have continued to attract critical responses on the West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) planning portal.

Bake Off star Prue Leith (pictured with her husband John Playfair at their home) has objected to Kitebrook Preparatory School’s plan to build a hockey pitch and playing field in the area

The school has proposed building both a hockey pitch and playing filed that will have 49ft-high floodlights 

In her second objection comment, Ms Leith said: ‘I have since discovered that the proposed site is an ancient ridge and furrow field which would be destroyed if planning is granted.

‘We are extremely lucky to be one of the few places in England with glorious ridge and furrow fields dating from medieval times.

‘It would be not just a crying shame, but an absolute crime to destroy a patch of ridge and furrow, let alone a huge field. 

‘I live about a quarter of a mile from the proposed playing fields and, though I understand the need for sports facilities for children, I think, in spite of the alterations to the original plan, that the proposed development is much too large.’   

Ms Leith said the ‘most important problem’ would be the ‘runoff of rainwater’.

She added that her land already suffered from frequent flooding and that it ‘cannot take any more water’. 

Ms Leith’s comment added: ‘Grass pitches would not be a problem, or artificial grass laid on free draining subsoil, but an all-weather surface of such dimensions is unreasonable.

Kitebrook Preparatory School (pictured), in Moreton-in-Marsh, says the hockey pitch and playing fields will ‘increase grassroots sport development’

In her second objection comment, Ms Leith said the proposed site, an ancient ridge and furrow field, will be ‘destroyed’ if the plans go ahead

‘Next, why does the school need multiple large pitches? Prep school children cannot play on full size pitches.’

‘One of the joys of living in a rural setting is the dark night skies so I was pleased to see that the proposed stadium lights are not to be.

‘But is there anything to stop the school adding the lights at a later date? Who would police that?’   

Since Ms Leith’s original objection comment, Evenlode Parish Council has also objected in a consultee comment.

The council’s comment read: ‘The proposals will have an adverse impact on this village in terms of flooding from the runoff which an artificial landscape will generate.

‘The proposals do not demonstrate any wider benefit to the particular rural economy in the vicinity.’

Tara Hayek, WODC’s senior conservation and design officer, had no objection in her consultee comment.

The comment read: ‘The scheme, including design, materials etc are appropriate and the applicant has considered the current landscape character and setting of the heritage assets, working with the existing terrain and contours to ensure that views and settings are preserved so that the facility blends into its surrounds.’ 

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