SALISBURY City Council has supported plans for a “desperately needed” artificial grass pitch at Sarum Academy.

The pitch includes 4.5m high ball stop fencing and high pitch barriers as well as a 15m high floodlight system and maintenance store.

The pitch will replace part the western grass surfaced playing field at Sarum Academy.

Councillor Tom Corbin said: “I would like to support this. For several years it has been talked the fact that they were going to spend money on a 3G pitch. The fact they have finally got to this stage is really quite good and exciting for the area and all the schools. It will open up facilities.”

In terms of the floodlighting he said it was the “furthest point away” from residents, adding: “In my view from a lighting and noise perspective it is about as good as it is going to get.”

Councillor Atiqul Hoque added: “It is really good to see it finally coming to fruition.”

A statement included in the application said the proposal was an “ideal opportunity to introduce a state-of-the-art artificial grass pitch” for pupils at Sarum Academy and community sports clubs and groups, adding: “This proposal has been strategically identified by the Football Association as a centre for grassroots development and once brought into use, it is vital for the proposal to work within the terms of its approval.

“This project will deliver genuine benefits in terms of sports engagement and as such, the proposed sports facility will serve to further enhance the excellent education and sporting offer that the Academy provides to its pupils and the local community,” the application added.

In relations to the floodlighting, the application said modern floodlights create “very little light leakage outside of the sports facility” but they will be subjected to periodic testing and inspections throughout their working life to maintain but not exceed design levels.”

The application has received support from leisure services at Wiltshire Council as well as public support. Richard Pearce, of Clarendon Juniors, said: “An AGP is desperately needed in and around Salisbury to enable (young) people from the district to play football potentially all year round on the best facilities available.”

This was echoed by Paul Russell, of Salisbury, who said: “To be able to access all weather facilities, football players are currently either having to drive long distances, either to Tidworth or further, or are having to use a local hockey pitch for practice, which is not fit for purpose.”

Wiltshire Council will decide whether permission is granted.