COMPLAINTS that junior football clubs in Welshpool have lost the pitches they used to play on, were made at the Powys County Council (PCC) planning committee meeting.

Powys County Council asked the committee if work to improve sports facilities at Welshpool High School needs a formal planning application or could be done under a sports improvement works?

The claims were made that the question had been brought before the committee because the sports facilities at the school were supposed to make up for the loss of playing fields.

A new primary school was being built on the fields.

Planning officer, Kate Bowen, said: “There are two existing Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA), that are used for football, netball basketball and there is also a grass pitch improvement area that is programmed as part of the works.

“There is also a cricket area for practising  as well and this is all at the back and side of the school.

“This is an unusual application asking members for confirmation that the proposed works actually benefit from permitted development rights and do not require a submission of a formal planning application.

“So they are seeking a legal certificate that they don’t require a planning application.”

Mrs Bowen added: “All the works do fall under the permitted development rights to local authorities and therefore do not need planning permission,

“We are recommending that the certificate is granted.”

Cllr Phil Pritchard (Independent – Welshpool Castle), said: “There’s two sides to this story and I’ve been involved for three-and-a-half years.

“While I gladly support it (the recommendation) and propose it, I have to make the comment: the reason for this is that PCC is building two new schools in Welshpool.

“As a result of that they have taken the ground and four football pitches away from Welshpool.

“This has stopped five teams of young teams, eight, nine and 10 years of age being able to play football.”

Cllr Pritchard, a member of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), said that the community had been “up in arms” over the decision.

They had been promised other land for football pitches that have yet to materialise.

Cllr Pritchard added: “Our education department made promises and this application should have been on the table two years ago in readiness of what they were planning.”

Councillors approved the recommendations.

Building work on the Welshpool Church in Wales School, which was supposed to  open in September, has stopped since the collapse of Swansea based construction firm Dawnus.

And the conversion of the Maesydre listed building for the Welsh medium school,Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng,  is also in limbo until new contractors are appointed by PCC.