Floodlighting plans approved

Plans to install seven more floodlights and build javelin, discus and shot-put areas in a new sports field at an Abingdon park were approved last night despite objections about light pollution from neighbours.

A planning application for throwing facilities and lights at Tilsley Park Leisure Centre in Dunmore Road were submitted in May.

Vale of White Horse District Council officers earmarked them for approval in a report published last week and a full decision on the plans was made last night at a planning committee meeting in The Beacon in Portway, Wantage.

In total 10 objection letters were sent to Vale council by neighbours, alongside one letter of support.

Barbara Ann Johnson of nearby Rose Avenue said: “I strongly object to this application, both as an athlete and as a neighbour.

“As a close neighbour I object to this application on the basis that the floodlighting will have a very negative effect on our lives.

“We have lots of problems with light pollution and glare from the existing floodlights next to the track.”

Abingdon Town Council also objected to the plans, stating light pollution is already a concern for residents.

The application was submitted by Abingdon School who took over management of the centre from Vale of White Horse District Council last year.

A statement by consultants Kemp and Kemp on behalf of the school said: “The principle of the proposed use has already been established and the floodlight and fencing is required for health and safety purposes.”

The plans include safety fencing up to three metres high.

The floodlights would operate when needed during normal opening times of the leisure centre – from 8am until 10pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 6pm at weekends.

District councillor Debby Hallett said: “Tilsley Park is already the source of light overspill, as others have pointed out.

“As long as this development work includes effective reduction of light overspill, I have no objections.

“It would be neighbourly of Tilsley Park to address the current light problems experienced by neighbours and drivers along the A34. Certainly the level should not increase.”

Radley Athletics Club which is based at the centre supported the proposal along with England Athletics.