‘We don’t want a 3G sports pitch here’ – that’s the message that has been heard loud and clear by decision makers across Wokingham borough.

Back in 2021, Wokingham Borough Council announced that it would be investing £800,000 to build a new sports pitch in the borough, with a particular need identified for all-weather pitches in Earley and Lower Earley.

At the time, the council’s Conservative administration identified Laurel Park as the ‘preferred option’ for the new pitch location.

Although the ‘preferred option’ was subsequently moved to Maiden Erlegh School in Silverdale Road, neighbours continue to oppose the plan raising concerns about noise disturbance and proximity to homes, and questioning the demand for such pitches altogether.

Five neighbours recently expressed their displeasure with the project at a full council meeting.

READ MORE: 3G pitch plan would cause 'untold misery' 

Sandra Spencer argued the pitch would cause noise disturbance and end up being ‘an expensive and embarrassing white elephant’.

She said: “Would it not be sensible to rule out Maiden Erlegh completely now to avoid wasting any more time and money, and to put residents’ minds at rest, as it is just too near housing, and the worry of having their quality of life ruined is causing people significant distress?”

Meanwhile, Karen Brown and Nancy Baddoo both asked questions about the new pitch being only eight metres away from neighbouring properties. Karen Brown said neighbours lives would be ‘blighted’ by the pitch.

Fellow neighbours Jeremy Evershand and Juditch Clark both questioned the demand for a 3G pitch in the area, as four pitches have been applied for on land west of High Copse Farm in Shinfield.

READ MORE: Wokingham Borough Council launches consultation on plans for new 3G pitch site

All of the questions were fielded by Ian Shenton (Liberal Democrats, Evendons) the executive member for leisure.

Cllr Shenton said the prospect of a new pitch at Maiden Erlegh School could not be ruled out and defended the integrity of a consultation on the matter.

But ultimately, work on the project has been put on hold due to ‘escalating’ costs.

The decision to cease the work was introduced by cllr Shenton himself and agreed unanimously by the council’s executive committee.

Cllr Shenton explained: “At the executive meeting in July 2022, approval was given to progress with the proposal to build a 3G football pitch at Maiden Erlegh School, and that was subject to full public consultation.

“While that consultation confirmed the demand for 3G capacity in that area, it also identifies some difficulties with the site.

“Meanwhile, the council’s worsening financial situation had become apparent and the estimated project costs had also escalated so that 3G provision in the Earley and Lower Earley area needed to be reassessed.”

He added the council will now begin work on a revised borough-wide playing pitch strategy.

The questions were asked at a full council meeting on Thursday, January 19, with the decision to cease work made on Thursday, January 26.