PLANS for a controversial multi-use games area have been changed in a bid to appease concerned villagers.

Community leaders claimed the original site for the twin sports pitches in Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, was too close to a sheltered housing complex.

Residents feared noise and disturbance from users and light pollution from the six floodlights.

However, a new site for the games area, behind Middleton Tyas Primary School, has been put forward in an effort to reduce concerns.

District councillor Jill McMullon believes the new location has the support of most villagers.

She said a survey of residents found 131 households were in favour of the move, 16 were against, two did not want the games area at all and 78 failed to reply.

"People who live in sheltered housing need to be protected," said Coun McMullon.

"If there's an alternative, and it can be moved a few hundred yards away, surely we ought to be taking those steps without hesitation."

The councillor rejected claims the multi-use games area had divided the village.

"It hasn't split the village - it has brought people together," she said.

"People are very forward thinking in Middleton Tyas. We're all for sports facilities but they have got to be in the right place."

The new location could still prove unsatisfactory to some residents.

Beverly Booth, Richmondshire District Council planning officer, said in a report: "The re-siting to the north of side of the school will help to some extent in diffusing the impact of the lighting on the residents of Kneeton Close.

"However, the siting will result in lighting being seen from Kneeton Lane and may to some extent affect some residents within Kneeton Park."

The new site will also encroach on the existing football pitch north of the school.

If the relocation is approved by the county council, the football pitch will be moved on to farmland farther north.

An extension to the school for changing rooms is also included in the new plans.

The multi-use games area will be discussed by district councillors at a meeting at Swale House, Richmond, on Tuesday at 6.30pm. Members of the public are welcome.