Bake Off judge Prue Leith tries to block school's new playing field plan

Bake Off judge Prue Leith has reportedly tried to block proposals from Kitebrook Preparatory School to build a new hockey field and playing field.

The school has stated that the plans for the new outdoor area are part of their goal of “increasing the development of grassroots sport”.

However, Prue, 81, has raised concerns about the site’s heritage and its impact on local fields.

In June, she initially appealed against the proposals for a hockey rink with 15 m high floodlights at the Kitebrook Preparatory School.

Since then, the proposals have continued to generate critical responses on the West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) planning portal.

In her second objection comment, Ms. Leith said, “I have since discovered that the proposed site is an old ridge and furrow field that would be destroyed if the plan were approved.

“We are very fortunate to be one of the few places in England with wonderful ridges and furrows from the Middle Ages.

“It would not only be a shame but an absolute crime to destroy a ridge and furrow, let alone a vast field.

“I live about a quarter of a mile from the planned pitches and while I understand the need for sports facilities for children, I think the planned development is way too big despite the changes to the original plan.”

Ms. Leith says the “most important problem” is the “runoff of rainwater”.

She adds that her country is already suffering from frequent flooding and “can no longer absorb water”.

Ms. Leith’s comment added: “Grass pitches would not be a problem or artificial turf on a freely permeable surface, but an all-weather surface of this size is unreasonable.

“Next, why does the school need several large parking spaces? Preschoolers cannot play on large playing fields.

“One of the joys of living in a rural setting is the dark night sky, so I was pleased to see that the proposed stadium lighting should not be.

“But is there anything preventing the school from adding the lights at a later date? Who would be monitoring this? “

A spokeswoman for Ms. Leith said she would “make no comment”.

Since the original objection comment by Ms. Leith, the Evenlode municipal council has also raised an objection in an advisory comment.

The municipal council commented: “The proposals will affect this village in terms of flooding from the runoff created by an artificial landscape.

“The proposals show no further benefit for the particular rural economy in the area.”

Tara Hayek, WODC’s Senior Conservation and Design Officer, had no objection in her advisor’s comment.

The comment read: “The scheme, including design, materials, etc. is appropriate and the applicant has taken into account the current landscape and heritage environment and worked with the existing terrain and contours to ensure that the views and settings are preserved stay so that the facility blends in with its surroundings. “

To view the building application, search the WODC building application portal under the reference number 21/01456 / FUL.

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