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Brockenhurst Village Trust makes U-turn on fence plan for muga despite winning court battle with neighbour Marie Sampson over 'nuisance' noise

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A VILLAGE trust which fought off a legal bid to force it to lock a “nuisance” play park in Brockenhurst overnight has now submitted fencing plans after being told by environmental health officers to cut the noise.

The row over the multi-use games area (muga), off Highwood Road, made national headlines when a neighbour unsuccessfully went to court in 2020 in a bid to have it secured overnight.

Brockenhurst Village Trust, which owns the site, won the case – but has since been told by New Forest District Council’s environment health team to take action to quieten the facility.

Neighbour Marie Sampson had complained about the noise from Brockenhurst muga
Neighbour Marie Sampson had complained about the noise from Brockenhurst muga

Neighbour Marie Sampson, a solicitor, claimed in 2020 that the muga posed her family a “noise nuisance” at their adjacent home in Tattenham Road between November 2017 and August 2019.

She complained of balls landing in her garden and the sounds of swearing disturbing her work during the day.

But she lost the argument at Southampton Magistrates’ Court for it to be locked at night and was ordered by a district judge to pay £2,500 of the trust’s legal costs.

Two years on, however, the trust has submitted a planning application for a surrounding three-metre fence to enable it to do exactly that.

The plans also include sections of higher fencing to reduce the chances of balls flying into neighbours’ gardens.

A spokesperson for the Brockenhurst Village Trust said the plans had been submitted to the national park authority after discussions with NFDC’s environmental health team, in response to a complaint which followed the court case.

She told the A&T: “The planning application you refer to, is in response to advice received from NFDC environmental health, suggesting we devise a noise management plan for the facility.

The plans also include sections of higher fencing
The plans also include sections of higher fencing

“To devise and implement this, we need to be able to fully control when and how the muga is used. The facility to lock it after hours is fundamental to this.”

Mrs Sampson has backed the plan, writing in support to the NPA saying: “I support this application as it is needed to address the ‘nuisance of out of hours use’ identified as an issue by New Forest District Council environmental health.”

Six other residents have written in support. But Brockenhurst Parish Council has recommended refusal – without making any further comment.

The muga is next to the village and Scout halls and playground, and was opened in late 2018 as a project to which the community contributed £63,000.

It is used by groups including the Scouts, Cubs and Brownies, the village school and sports teams. Birthday parties, charity events and football tournaments are also held there.

During the summer, it can currently be used until 8pm, and from October through winter it closes at 5pm.

There is also a code of conduct which states there must be no swearing at the facility.

A decision on the fence by the NPA is expected later this summer.

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