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Parents' anger at Brighton school plan to pull up trees for all-weather pitch
Building an Astroturf sports facility at a city school has been met with disgust by residents and campaigners.
Plans for the artificial pitch in the grounds of Dorothy Stringer School would mean the loss of some mature trees on the site.
The proposal, put forward by the school, is currently being consulted on with the public, and no formal planning application has been submitted yet.
David MacDonald, member of Save Our School Trees, said: “Generally the feeling is shock and disgust that they want to build this pitch despite the fact they will have to cut down so many trees.
“We have set up a petition and we’ve already gathered 260 signatures.
“If we can get 500 it will send the message that it shouldn’t go ahead and sports participation should not come before the environment.”
But headteacher at Dorothy Stringer Richard Bradford believes the pitch would benefit the area’s wildlife.
He said: “In the past 15 years the school has planted more than 3,000 trees, actively managed the piece of woodland behind the school to increase biodiversity and we have created a new pond which attracts a wide variety of wildlife.
“The proposal involves the removal and replanting of some trees.
“A landscape approach to tree planting is an essential constituent of the project.”
Personal trainer Charlie Mears, from HITFITSOUTH, said the floodlit facility will have a significant positive impact on the health of students and the wider community.
He said: “I can understand people’s concerns and worries.
“However, in a day and age were obesity in children is at an all-time high, combined with an opportunity to enjoy and potentially excel at sport, I would support it.
“Health benefits aside, Sussex and Brighton especially have taken pride in producing young talent in various sports for years.
“Small things such as this at Dorothy Stringer opens up a world of opportunities for kids at the school that they may never have experienced, not to mention the wider community.”
Tom Druitt, local wildlife campaigner and managing director of The Big Lemon, thinks the proposals need to be looked at more carefully.
He said: “When I was campaigning for the tree at Seven Dials, I was told categorically that it was not possible to have both the tree and a safe roundabout.
What we have now is a tree and a perfectly safe roundabout.
“Whenever I see this sort of thing I am very suspicious.
“It just seems to me that they haven’t looked hard enough to find an alternative.”
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