Plans to build a new sports pitch at a Chesham school – which would be used by local football and rugby clubs – have faced a setback after a councillor compared the “horrific” design to a “concentration camp”.

During a meeting on Thursday (March 21) Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) planning committee agreed to defer plans to build a new sports pitch at Chiltern Hills Academy, in Chartridge Lane.

Addressing the committee, headteacher at the school, Kevin Patrick, said the new pitch would be used by sports teams based in the area, as well as Chiltern Hills pupils.

He said: “The site is currently a grass field, usually muddy and waterlogged in the winter time. This facility will allow clubs to use the site for their training and for matches.

“This will include football and rugby, and other sports organisations have also shown interest. There is no similar facility in the area.

“For the last four years we have been working with the local football teams, local rugby club, national organisations to get to this point.”

The plans are separate to another application recently submitted to Bucks County Council (BCC) proposing a major expansion of the school – including a new science block.

The sports pitch proposals include floodlights, a shipping container-style storage unit and a 4.5 metre-tall fence, however councillors raised concerns over the impact the pitch would have on the “openness” of the green belt.

Councillor for Asheridge Vale and Lowndes, Jane MacBean, said she is “between a rock and a hard place” as the pitch “has the potential to be an incredible facility”, however she slammed the “large and unsightly metal storage container”.

She said: “I find myself between a rock and a hard place. There is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that this has the potential to be an incredible facility for the school, rugby club and for Chiltern and South Bucks, which does have a deficit in open space.

“The school is embarking on some expansion through the BCC planning system and if I am being brutally honest I do find the plonking of a very large unsightly metal storage container a bit of a lazy easy option for storage.

“In my heart of hearts, if you are doing modifications to the school I would much rather see some kind of storage built into any expansion plan.”

Councillor for Prestwood and Heath End, John Gladwin, said the plans to build 4.5 metre-tall fence on protected land is “ludicrous” and went on to liken the design to a “concentration camp”.

He said: “I agree with having sports facilities in the green belt, I don’t think that is an issue as long as we maintain the openness of the green belt, but to put a 4.5 metre box is ludicrous.

“I think that we need to look very carefully at the height of it. I know we don’t want the balls flying off because the kids aren’t fit enough to try and chase them, I think there is a way of dealing with it with a lower fencing with netting or something above it.

“It looks like a concentration camp, absolutely horrific.”

However, Cllr John Wertheim backed plans, saying they provide a “wonderful opportunity” for Chesham as there is “no similar local facility”.

Cllr Nick Rose also praised the “excellent” plans, stating: “I thoroughly support this application, it is a good application.

“he only jarring note is this metal storage nest which I would strongly urge the school to do something about because it just doesn’t fit in.

“But I have to support this application, I think it is excellent.”

CDC officers then called for the committee to defer the plans so they can analyse the separate extension application submitted to BCC in order to “see if the two align”.