Residents hit out at “poor neighbour” Wellington School as it launches new floodlighting bid

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Local residents have accused Wellington School of being a “very poor neighbour” after it launched a third attempt to install floodlights on a sports pitch.

Residents adjacent to the Timperley school’s boundary were notified on Christmas Eve of its intention to try again for planning permission to erect floodlights around an all-weather sports pitch.

The school has already failed twice in its bid to secure permission for the floodlighting – a first attempt was unanimously rejected by Trafford Planning Committee in October 2010, with a subsequent appeal turned down in June 2011.

When rejecting the appeal, the planning inspector noted that the main issue was “the effect of the proposal upon the occupiers of nearby dwellings”.

The school has now submitted a further planning application, but local residents say the plans for eight, 14-metre lighting columns would “dominate” the area from a quarter of a mile away, and would also cause light pollution and “give the neighbourhood an industrial-like look, not in keeping with a residential area”.

Speaking on behalf of the residents, Richard Stasyszyn said: “The school is a very poor neighbour. They’re only really interested in what the school wants, they’re not interested in the effects of their actions on their neighbours.

“We don’t object to the school wanting a pitch with floodlighting, but where they are and with the space they have, it isn’t suitable. They just haven’t got the room to put that kind of a facility in without disturbing homes that are right next to the school. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Below: A diagram showing the sports pitch floodlighting plans

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Stasyszyn added that since the sports pitch was converted from a grass surface to artificial, use of it had “trebled”.

“It’s used every school day pretty continuously from 9 to around 4.30-5, with all the noise and the shouting and swearing that comes with that,” he said.

“Our message to Trafford would be, why are we going through this again when it’s already been rejected by a committee and already rejected on appeal? It is in essence exactly the same proposal, and yet we’re having to go through the whole thing again causing upset and anxiety to the neighbours.”

The school’s latest application does make attempts to address residents’ concerns over the impact of floodlighting around the 97metre x 63metre pitch.

A technical report from Surfacelux, the proposed floodlight installers, claims the impact will be “minimised” as lighting overspill into neighbouring gardens “will be less than moonlight”.

The school has also commissioned a report from Philips Lighting, which concludes that “it is our suggestion that the lights, when in operation, will not be obtrusive towards the adjacent affected properties”.

The Philips report goes on to recommend that the lights “are allowed to be operated to enable sport to be played under artificial light in accordance with the planning conditions laid out by the Local Authority and any local agreement with residents”.

Residents have been given until January 12th to submit any comments – the online comments form can be accessed here.

Below: Wellington School in Timperley, and local residents opposed to the floodlighting plans

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