A BIZARRE planning condition which stipulated noise on a hockey pitch must be less than that created by a hockey stick hitting a ball has been lifted.

Carmel College principal Mike Shorten said to keep within the 65 decibel limit set on its artificial pitch by Darlington Borough Council in 2016, players would have to wrap their sticks in noise-deadening material.

The meeting heard when the pitch was initially proposed it had seen significant controversy, with residents concerned about noise levels, but the school’s application to make the noise limiting condition less prescriptive had attracted just nine letters of objection.

After the pitch started being used by the school and Darlington and Bishop Auckland-based hockey clubs, there had been a complaint from residents about noise levels, members were told.

Councillor Charles Johnson said: “Noise from the facility continues to be a significant issue affecting residents.”

A noise investigation found while padding had been added to back and goal boards, noise levels were above those permitted, which allowed for sound at just a “conversational level”.

However, Mr Shorten described the planning condition as “impossible” to achieve while playing hockey, and said the school was aware of the impact the noise had on residents.

He told the committee: “If we were to measure the sound in this room at the moment it would be higher than 65 decibels.”

Members agreed to lifting the 65 decibels limit after the authority’s head of planning David Coates said he would not recommend enforcing the planning condition, given another restriction relating to noise had been imposed on the pitch.