Councillors last week considered plans to build a hall with four badminton courts in place of tennis courts near the main school exit, only yards from the A325.

Farnborough Road resident, Paul Gregory, wrote to councillors to ask that more time and consideration be given to the project.

Speaking before last Wednesday’s meeting of Rushmoor’s development control committee, Mr Gregory described the proposed hall as “an industrial estate building.”

“My intentions are not to stop the school proceeding with the sports hall,” said Mr Gregory, who has worked on various large projects in the borough through his work in the construction industry.

“I feel that the proposed scheme and its current location is limited by financial constraints. This should not be a reason for permitting such development on an historic site.”

The school lies in a designated conservation area and is regarded in the council local plan as an important open area.

The current school gym is too small to provide adequate facilities, the application states.

At last week’s meeting, several members supported the call for more sports facilities in schools, but criticised the siting of the proposed hall.

Cllr Pat Devereux, who represents the Empress Ward, said: “I am in favour of supplying sports facilities.

“But I have reservations about the architectural designs and the view from the A325 is like an industrial unit.”

Cllr Devereux made the suggestion of moving the sports hall further south, where it would be much better concealed from the Farnborough Road by thick hedges and trees.

Cllr Neville Dewey, who as governor of the Manor Junior School appreciated the importance of sport in education, said he could not support the application.

“Whilst I have every sympathy for the school, we are looking as a site of historical importance.

It is a Grade I listed building in an important open environment.

“When you look at this building from the A325 it is an open aspect. You look straight on to the building.”

Cllr Patrick Kirby agreed, saying that the proposed siting of the hall would “stick out like a sore thumb.”

“I am all in favour of the construction of any sports hall in principle because I think there is all too little sponsorship of sport in schools and this is a vital requirement for this school.

“But it is in the wrong place. In that vicinity there is other available land.”

After the meeting, Paul Gregory praised the councillors for taking his arguments on board.

He said: “I certainly did not expect them to defer the decision, because the officers had recommended to grant.

“I was pleased that some of the councillors took note of my work.

“It has restored my faith in the local planning process.”