PREMIERSHIP footballer Adam Lallana is at the centre of a planning row over a sports pitch in his garden.

The Southampton midfielder, who is part of England’s World Cup squad, has been told to either make alterations to the multi-use games area at his Avon Castle home or submit a retrospective planning application.

The development has sparked complaints from Mr Lallana’s neighbours, who are concerned about the prospect of noisy sports matches.

Mr Lallana submitted a planning application in December seeking retrospective permission for a children’s wooden play area in his garden.

In this application his planning agent said he also planned a “small astro turf pitch” which would meet the criteria of permitted development.

His neighbour Brian Riley, who has lived with his wife Constance at their home for more than 20 years, said: “We didn’t object to this application, why would we? We understand kids need somewhere to play.

“But then we saw builders and welders arrive on site and we couldn’t work out what was going on. We saw this sports pitch being built and we just couldn’t believe it.

“The enforcement officer told us it was more in-keeping with a council play park than a garden in a special character area, which this area is. He was given 28 days to submit a planning application but that deadline has gone. He’s done nothing and the council haven’t taken any further action.”

Giles Moir, development management manager at East Dorset District Council, said: “Every applicant is dealt with in exactly the same way.

“Our enforcement team have been in contact with the agent and we anticipate an application for the multi-use games area very soon.”

Mike Hirsh, planning consultant acting for Mr Lallana, said: “The area of hard standing to be used as a knock-about pitch has been agreed by East Dorset District Council as ‘permitted development’ and does not need planning permission.

“The majority of the fencing is two metres or less in height and also does not need planning permission. Over the small goal areas fencing has been raised to support a basketball hoop. Technically that part needs planning permission as it is more than two metres in height.

“My client went around to the neighbour and apologised and has asked a landscape architect to mitigate the visual impact of the hoop.”