Lights campaigners still unhappy

April 24 2015

CAMPAIGNERS say that they are still unsatisfied with Gloucestershire Cricket Club's revised floodlight plans.

CAMPAIGNERS say that they are still unsatisfied with Gloucestershire Cricket Club's revised floodlight plans.

Amendments to the club's plans to erect six 45-metre floodlights on fixed masts were resubmitted in March following rejection by councillors at a committee meeting in February.

Planning officers advised that the plans should be approved, however, councillors were unwilling to give the go-ahead for the lights until they were sure that all ideas for reducing the impact on neighbours and the skyline had been fully explored.

The club says that floodlights, which would be used a maximum of 15 times a year, are essential in order for them to host top international games.

Alternative options have since been explored by GCCC, which have included retractable floodlights, removable headframes, base-hinged masts, reducing the number of floodlights, and repositioning the lights.

However, they have all been discounted by the club due to either being too expensive or unsuitable for the club or local neighbourhood.

But GCCC has agreed to improve the design of the lighting heads, making them circular, rather than rectangular.

Campaign group HowZat? – set up to monitor the impact of the cricket club development – says that they felt encouraged that GCCC has engaged with an alternative lighting provider, as well as meet with local residents to discuss a 'Floodlight Usage Management Plan'.

But are “disappointed” that the plans for the mast remain unchanged, and that there has been no improvements made to the light spill.

A spokesperson from HowZat? said: “Serious consideration has not been given to base-hinged masts which could be lowered to the ground out of season. These have been used elsewhere and we believe could be adapted for this use.

“We accept that permanent floodlights are needed for GCCC to host international cricket in Bristol, which as a group we support.

“However we believe that this application as it stands is too high a price to pay for the local area and we agree with the council’s Urban Design Group that it would cause substantial harm to views of the Ashley Down Conservation Area.”

Will Brown, CEO at the club, said: “We were grateful to the planning committee for their comments in February and as they requested, we have compiled a comprehensive report that fully explores all the options and shows that the current layout is the only one available to us. To make sure we considered everything fully, we worked with an independent lighting engineer and another lighting provider to compile the report.

“In line with feedback from neighbours, we have changed the design of the ‘headframe’ at the top of the poles, which is now a softer oval shape. Additionally, we have continued to consult with neighbours on a Floodlight Usage Management Plan, giving more detail on how and when the lights would be used.

“Everybody at the committee in February was clear that they wanted the club to have lights, so we hope this latest information clearly demonstrates that the option we have chosen is the right one for the city. The lights will mean that Bristol can host the Cricket World Cup as well as other vital matches, bringing huge economic and cultural benefits to the city, and helping to inspire the next generation of home-grown sports stars.”

Jerry Osborne, a local resident who supports the club's plans, said: “We understand that the award of these matches is subject to the installation of permanent floodlights and without these permanent floodlights being in place, the award could be retracted and matches reallocated to other first class clubs, and that would be a real shame.”

Emma O'Connell, a local resident who objects to the plans, said: “Installation of these types of floodlights has a disproportionate negative impact compared to the amount of benefit they will bring. I strongly object to the scale of these lights and the permanent nature of them when they will be used just a few times in the year. Surely there must be alternative solutions.”

The decision will go to committee on April 29 and comments can be made up until the day before.

Revised floodlights