A school has been ordered to turn off its air source heat pumps following complaints from neighbours that they are too noisy.

Reepham High School installed the eco-friendly devices in 2022 without planning permission, much to the annoyance of those living nearby.

They claim they are unable to open their windows or use their gardens without being disturbed.

The row has even seen local MP Jerome Mayhew called in and has made national newspaper headlines.

Now, Broadland District Council has told the school to shut down the pumps.


Christopher Watts, a planning officer at the authority, sent an email to neighbours, which said: "By way of an update, we have requested that the applicant switches off the pumps."

He said the council was now considering what, if any, enforcement action to take, adding: "At the appropriate stage in the investigation I will provide a further update, but please be assured that this matter is being taken seriously."

A spokesman for the Synergy Multi Academy Trust, which runs the school, said: “We continue to work with local residents and Broadland District Council to come to a workable and pragmatic solution.

“As a Trust, our priority is to ensure that our students are warm, safe and dry, in order to continue their education.”

The school has not said how the school will be heated without the pumps.

The devices were installed on land off Whitwell Road, just metres from the nearest neighbours.

Mark Bridges, who lives nearby, added: “Neighbours are sympathetic to the needs of the school but this huge industrial unit placed in a very quiet rural locale has been proven by Broadland District Environmental team and the planning officers to not be suitable for sitting at this location and is clearly the wrong product in the wrong place."

The electrically-powered devices work by absorbing heat from the air.

They are said to be more efficient than gas boilers and can be powered by renewable resources, rather than relying on fossil fuels, and are seen as a key measure to help the UK meet its net-zero targets.