FEARS have been raised that a landmark sports development at one of the Capital’s most prestigious independent schools will make residents’ lives a misery and damage the local conservation area.
Fettes College, which counts former Prime Minister Tony Blair among its alumni, is planning a state-of-the-art hockey pitch with 15-metre high floodlighting at its grounds in Inverleith.
College chiefs hailed the decision of city planners to back the 91 by 55-metre pitch and said it would help pupils at the £20,000-a-year institution achieve their sporting potential.
But locals said they were worried about the noise and light impact, and called on the college to be more open about development plans in the under-pressure Inverleith conservation area.
Resident John Smith, 64, who lives next to the development site, said: “It’s the noise that could come from this that concerns me – it’s nice and quiet around here and I like that.”
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m not keen about lots of noise at night. If there’s non-stop noise and light coming from this, I won’t be happy at all.”
Leaders of conservation group the Inverleith Society said there had been a worrying build-up of major projects in the area, with not enough transparency offered by local landowners over development plans. Committee member Ian Hooper said: “There will be an impact on local residents from floodlighting and hours of use.
“It’s hard to see how much more of this kind of development there could be in the area.
“There are some major local landowners in Inverleith and we have a good relationship with those organisations, but from time to time we in the society feel that they would serve the local neighbourhood better if they made their long-term development plans public to give people an opportunity to see and understand them.”
College chiefs and city planning leaders insisted the new hockey pitch would not harm the local conservation area and said hours of use and light spillage from its eight floodlighting columns would be controlled.
Peter Worlledge, bursar at Fettes, said: “After a full and thorough voluntary consultation process with local residents and neighbours, we are delighted that permission has been granted for a new hockey pitch at Fettes College.
“As with all our building works, we have sought to minimise the disruption to our neighbours and the local community and appreciate their input and comments.
“Sport is a vital part of life at Fettes College and with this new facility we can provide further training facilities for our pupils to help them reach their full potential in their chosen sports.”
Councillor Ian Perry, the city’s planning chief, said: “A detailed survey of the impact of the new pitch on the local area found that any visual impact or light spillage was not significant.”