Fulwood residents look set to lose a furious campaign to stop a local school adding floodlights to its outdoor sports pitch.Advertisement
The Fulwood Academy on Black Bull Lane applied for permission to install eight floodlights drawing hundreds of complaints from 142 nearby residents.
Now Preston City Council planners have recommended permission be granted for the floodlights, with a raft of restrictions attached to their use.
The Academy had originally applied for the lights to be 15 metres, but has scaled them back to 12 metres in height which planners say will reduce light spillage by 50 per cent.
Conditions on when the lights can be on have also been cut down. Previously a switch off time of 8pm on Saturdays but this is now proposed as 5pm.
All the floodlights are to be fitted angling down and their hours of use restricted to 8am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. The pitch would still be used on Sunday but no floodlighting would be allowed.
The lights are to be controlled by a time clock, and lights turn off at the end of the match leaving one light on for a short period to allow players to exit the pitch.
The pitch, which was built in 2010, is around 27 metres away from the nearest property on Garstone Croft.
The Academy says the pitch has considerable demand for usage by local teams including Logsands Lynx Juniors and Bamber Bridge FC.
David Froggat, coach of Longsands Lynx Community Junio Football Club, has written in support of the application.
He said: “We just recently secured an unbelieable partnership to use the Fulwood Academy grass pitches and new astro-turf facility only to find out that we would only be able to use the astro-turf pitches during daylight hours due to floodlight applications being incomplete.
“Our club is totally dependant on use of local facilities and amenities and we usually end up sharing pitch space which is not conducive to the development of our young footballers.
“We have over 120 children from the community who would certainly benefit from the use of this floodlit facility should it be successful.”
Local residents attended a public meeting in July last year when the plan for the pitch was first mooted.
They have called at Preston Grasshoppers on Tuesday 28 October from 8pm.
It stirred passions then and it continued when the application went in, a torrent of objections flooded the Town Hall post box.
Planners state the letters outline the objections as: “Impacts on residential amenity and the proximity of the pitch to local residents, noise and disturbance from users of the pitch when the pitch would not normally be in use (ie outside daylight hours) and by adults rather than schoolchildren (shouting and bad language etc), light pollution to neighbouring properties and the wider area, visual impact of the floodlight columns, impact on privacy and security of local residents, increased litter, impacts on bats and other wildlife, increasing traffic and parking problems, and suggested unauthorised commercial use of the pitch by hiring it out.”
A conclusion statement from planning officers states: “The proposed development would enhance an existing sports facility used by the Academy and by local community and sports groups. The lighting has been satisfactorily designed to avoid any unacceptable adverse effects on the residents of neighbouring properties, the amenity of the area and protected species.
“Although numerous objections have been received to the proposal, the scheme has been revised since submission to reduce potential impacts and the proposal is now considered acceptable, subject to appropriate conditions. As such the proposal complies with the relevant provisions of the development plan and there are no material considerations which outweigh this finding.”
The plans now go to the Preston City Council planning committee on Monday 3 November from 10am at the Town Hall.
You can read the full planning officers report on the city council website.
Do you live nearby? Do you attend the school or have a child there? Do you play for one of the teams? Let us know your views in the comments below