ANGRY neighbours are strongly opposed to a school’s plans to use its hall as an entertainment venue in the evenings.

Basildon’s Woodlands School, has applied to Basildon Council for a licence to stage live music and drama shows seven days a week until 11.45pm.

The licence would also allow films to be screened and the school to hire out its facilities to groups and private individuals.

However, people living nearby fear the proposals would disturb their sleep in the early hours as customers left the school.

Many claim the handful of school plays and other evening events already staged at Woodlands are enough of a nuisance to make them oppose more regular use.

They are also worried visitors will block Lee Wootens Lane and Whiteshott, where parking restrictions end at 5pm.

Graham Rogers, 75, of Furrowfelde, said: “It’s bad enough on the weekends during the daytime, with the noise from football matches in the school grounds.

The thought of noise, potentially seven days a week, late at night, is beyond the pale.

“More worrying is the noise and disturbance caused in the streets afterwards.”

Graham Cooper, 40, of Lee Wootens Lane, added: "We fought for a long time to get parking restrictions imposed.

“People going to these events will, most likely, park in our roads, recreating a problem that we thought we had eliminated.

“I have no issue with events organised by and for the pupils and their parents, but I do have concerns for other events.

"What is to stop people bringing their own alcohol? I am fearful this will lead to crime and disorder in the area.”

The council has received ten letters objecting to the plans.

Ted Brading, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Whiteshott and Lee Wottens Lane, angrily accused the school of applying for the licence as a “money-making opportunity”. He said: “Evening events held at the school over the years have usually been very plainly heard by the local residents, but, because they are relatively few and far between, have been tolerated.

“Obviously, a school will be expected to hold occasional out-ofhours events for pupils, and indeed should be applauded for doing so. But the licence should include limits regarding the frequency of the events.”