A NEW floodlit sports pitch will be built in a Tipton park despite complaints from neighbours.

Sandwell Council’s planning committee approved the new floodlit multi-use sports pitch at Victoria Park in Tipton after hearing concerns from elderly residents living next to the historic green space.

The vulnerable residents living next to the park accused the council of turning the green space into a “sports academy” and said they were already suffering from noise and antisocial behaviour as well as an influx of cars during football matches.

However, some councillors argued the planned fencing and floodlights would improve security and help drive away anti-social behaviour.

Sandwell Council plans to replace the existing “dilapidated” sports pitch next to the park’s skatepark with a new macadam surface, football goals, basketball nets, a three-metre high fence, new benches and six-metre-high LED floodlights. 

Alison Jones, who spoke on behalf of the residents in the Boscobel Estate Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), told the planning meeting on March 27: “We have a feeling that you are trying to turn the park into a sports academy. More of a sports facility than a residential park.

“Since the existing facilities were installed, residents living nearby have experienced extra noise from the skatepark.

“Whatever happens on the park does have an impact on our elderly residents,” Ms Jones added. “Parking is an issue. 

“Park Lane West is a red route, our estate is small, Brewery Street is a small cul-de-sac. We haven’t got the space for our own residents.”

She said the estate was regularly having to deal with nearly 30 extra cars during football games at the park and said ambulances often struggled to move around the small estate.

“It’s a major problem,” she said.

“[The sports facility] is not for everybody, it is aimed at younger people but you’ve got to consider the older people on our estate.”

Cllr Liam Preece asked the residents whether they felt more lighting would make the park safer – and potentially reduce antisocial behaviour.

“If you give them extra light, you give them extra light to get up to no good. It’s going to make things worse.”

Cllr Ellen Fenton also defended the planned revamp saying it would improve security and, despite the concerns from residents, the work would be a “blessing in disguise.”

“Young people need a place to play and they need a safe one,” she said. “They’re going to have to give some sort of detail to someone at the council before they can access a code for the keypad… Although your concerns are not unjustified, I do think they might be a bit panicked. 

“A lot of the issues that you are worried about have already been taken into account.”

The floodlights could not be used between 10pm and 8am and would only turn on when the pitch was booked.

The new sports facilities would only be available through a booking with the pitch accessed using electronic gates and a code.