Police were called to a Peterborough City Council planning meeting after reports of violence between members of the public.
The decision to allow popular gaming site Battlefield Live to begin operating once again in Thorney divided the spectators sitting in on yesterday’s meeting (Tuesday, March 22).
There was applause as councillors on the planning committee approved the reinstatement of the laser tag game in French Drove, which was stopped in July last year due to noise complaints.
But opponents of the application were left bitterly disappointed with one telling the committee: “You should trying living next to it then you’d know.”
Tensions then quickly rose with members of the public leaving the committee room before angry shouting took place just outside, prompting council staff to get involved and break-up the dispute.
Planning meetings often evoke plenty of passion from speakers and onlookers, but members of the committee themselves looked surprised by the scenes unfolding in front of them.
The dispute centred on residents’ fears that allowing Battlefield Live to start up again would cause unbearable noise for them.
The site had initially run on a temporary planning permission of two years before being told to close down due to noise.
The firm’s owners appealed the planning committee’s decision but it was upheld by the Planning Inspectorate, forcing the company to shut down.
The latest application was for land slightly further away from the previous site, and with a 2m wall and mature hedging included to limit the noise intrusion.
Council officers had recommended that the application be refused, but despite what was labelled as a “tricky decision”, committee members decided to give permission for applicants Graham and Nigel Simons to get Battlefield Live up-and-running again.
Speaking after the meeting, Graham Simons, who disputed that noise had ever been a problem, said they will “bust a gut” to rebuild the site and open in a couple of months’ time.
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said: “We were called at 3.32pm to reports of violence at the Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough.
“Police attended but there was nobody there.”