An Aberdeen school has admitted it took “very bad advice” when installing floodlights which have become a bugbear of surrounding residents.
International School Aberdeen (ISA) added eight masts to its 3G pitch without seeking permission from the city council back in 2020.
But the school wanted to fix its mistake and lodged new plans for four taller lights to be put in place instead.
Proposals for the new lighting went before the planning committee this week.
Councillor Neil Copland noted that permission for the pitch was granted in 2007 with a condition stating that no external lighting be installed.
He went on to ask why there was a need for the school to break this rule.
Facilities manager Ian Williamson explained that during the pandemic there was “zero internal play” for pupils as indoor facilities were forced to close.
He went on to tell the committee that the school decided to look at what could be done to provide activities outside for youngsters instead.
The school realised it had the ability to set up floodlights and decided to go ahead and install some.
But Mr Williamson admitted they took “very bad advice” from contractors.
He explained that due to “inaccurate comments”, the school was told that the existing masts were not tall enough to need planning permission.
“Obviously we should have checked that and we would like to make that correct now by putting in the proper floodlighting with the proper structure,” Mr Williamson said.
“We should have double-checked and I will acknowledge that the school should have come back to the planning committee.”
The amended plans for four taller masts received opposition from Braeside and Mannofield Community Council and six neighbours.
Culter Youth Football Club has leased out the pitch, which is located within the school grounds on North Deeside Road.
Aspiring footballers use the ground for training, but there is some concern that sessions run on into the night – with some ending as late as 11.30pm.
Resident Jan Robertson said the regular use of the pitches six days a week has had a huge impact on locals.
She also said the lights were installed without any consultation with residents.
Ms Robertson said: “We can hear the noise of training in the winter inside our houses with the doors and windows closed, and of course it is much worse in the summer.
“We watch TV every single night to the noise of football being played.
“We live so close it’s like they are playing in our gardens.”
Ms Robertson told members that the school moved into a “long-established quiet residential area and they must take heed of that”.
She asked for a compromise that both the school and residents could live with.
Meanwhile Val Milne from Braeside and Mannofield Community Council also spoke out at the meeting on behalf of concerned residents.
She told members the group had been contacted by a number of people who were left “distressed and upset” by noise created at the pitch.
Many surrounding residents are elderly and say they can no longer peacefully enjoy their homes or gardens.
Some even said they were left unable to sleep due to the increasing noise levels.
The community council suggested some additional measures be taken in order to balance the needs of both the community and the school.
However despite these concerns, the application was unanimously approved.