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Whitechapel Recreation Hall set for floodlights for after sunset sports

Posted on - 3rd February, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Whitechapel Recreation Hall's Muga
Whitechapel Recreation Hall’s Muga

A village hall on the outskirts of Preston plans to install floodlights so that its outdoor sports facilities can still be used after sunset.

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Whitechapel Recreation Hall has boasted a bowling green for the past 30 years and a multi-use games area (MUGA) for the last decade – but play stops on both once daylight disappears.

As part of a broader proposed overhaul of the Church Lane community building, its operators have asked Preston City Council for permission to erect six eight-metre high floodlights around the MUGA and four six-metre high units overlooking the bowling green.

Read more: Lancashire County Council plans to raise council tax by 5% each year to balance books

Documents submitted with the application state that the installation would “benefit…local community users of the facilities – especially in the winter months – who regularly need to cut short activities when the light is unsuitable for play”.  The neighbouring Whitechapel Primary School also regularly uses the MUGA and considers it to be “an important facility”.

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Curfew times would be put in place for both the games area and bowling green, of 9pm and 10pm respectively.

The planned revamp would also include building a rear extension to provide storage space for a pre-school that uses the community hall within the building, in order to free up that area for other activities.

An outside ‘play deck’ would be created – again for use by the pre-school –  while the front of the hall would be redesigned to make it more welcoming and accessible.  The new frontage is not considered harmful to “the open character and appearance of the countryside” location, according to the applicant’s planning statement.

Meanwhile, formal markings would be painted onto the currently ad hoc car park at the site, to improve the safety of its operation, which is highlighted in the application as a concern during peak school drop-off and collection times.  A total of 47 general and three disabled spaces would be created.

The hall sits close to the Forest of Bowland area of outstanding natural beauty, but it is suggested that there would only be “glimpsed views” of the proposed floodlights from there.

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It is also claimed that the downward positioning of the lights, the screening offered by surrounding trees and the “sunken” setting of the MUGA and bowling would reduce the impact of the new lighting system on nearby properties.

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