SPORT England is objecting to the loss of pitches if a housing scheme goes ahead.

Bark Street Investments Ltd has lodged a planning application for 142 homes on playing fields at Clifton Drive, off Sealand Road – meaning the loss of four football pitches and a rugby pitch used over many years.

Waggon and Horses FC and Greyhound Inn FC and Chester Gladiators rugby league squad have been forced to find new pitches after the University of Chester, which leases the site, gave them notice to quit.

The applicant says its university tenant should not have been subletting the pitches but points out there are alternative facilities at the Kingsway campus.

But Sport England says in its statutory objection to the planning authority: “The pitches at Kingsway campus were subject to a separate application to mitigate the loss of a playing field associated with application 11/01536/FUL (Parkgate Road).

“As the pitch provision at Kingsway has already been approved to mitigate the loss on another site how can the improvements be put forward a second time to mitigate the loss on the Sealand Road site?”

The applicants argue Sport England is ignoring the grounds for exemption if there is a surplus of pitches. While accepting the body regards a local authority Playing Pitch Strategy as flawed, it argues the data is correct and reveals a surplus.

They state: “Our own assessment, using the base data provided by the local authority shows that there is indeed a surplus of existing pitches within Blacon ward and, in common-sense terms, the location of the Sealand Road site is such that it must also be considered in the context of the over-provision within the adjacent city ward.”

It is hoped the application can go before the strategic planning committee on Thursday, March 21.