Saints captain Adam Lallana is at the centre of a row over a sports pitch he has built in his garden.

The Southampton midfielder, who is currently in Miami as part of England’s World Cup squad, who take on Ecuador in a friendly tomorrow night, has been told to either make alterations to the multi-use games area at his home on the Hampshire and Dorset border or submit a retrospective planning application.

The development has sparked complaints from Adam’s neighbours, who are concerned about the prospect of noisy football and basketball matches.

Adam, who is at the centre of a £25m bid from Liverpool over the weekend, 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 Avon Castle home, near Ringwood, for more than 20 years, said: “We understand kids need somewhere to play and we have no problem with that.

“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.

“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, from East Dorset District Council, said: “Every applicant is dealt with in the same way. Our team have been in contact with the agent for this development throughout the investigation process and we anticipate an application for the area very soon.”

Star’s apology to neighbours

MIKE Hirsh, planning consultant at Intelligent Land, is acting for the footballer.

He said: “The area of hard standing to be used as a knock-about pitch in the garden has been agreed by East Dorset District Council as ‘permitted development’ and does not need planning permission.

“The majority of the fencing around the hard standing is two metres or less in height and also does not need planning permission. Over the small goal areas at each end of the playing surface the 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 the day after the enforcement officer’s unexpected visit to his home, and apologised for causing the problem and has instructed a landscape architect to prepare a scheme to mitigate the visual impact of the hoop and the associated structure.”

He said a retrospective planning application would be submitted.