Penn & Tylers Green FC's statement at Council Planning meeting in full
Planning application for floodlights was rejected on Chair's casting vote.
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Council Planning Committee Address of Penn & Tylers Green FC
- Thank you, Chairman.
- My name is Nigel Miller and I have been a part of the club and committee for a number of years. I hope I can show why floodlights are so essential to the Club and how a condition to limit usage would address the officers’ concerns that led to the proposed refusal, despite a positive pre-application response.
- I would like to start by reinforcing the point that we only need floodlights for matches and not for training - very restricted periods of time. This was not taken on board in the officer’s report or by the historic buildings’ officer in making her recommendation.
- Matches will take place twice during the week from 7-10pm and on Saturdays from dusk to 6pm. Put into context, there is no match play for at least four months a year. We don’t play at home every week and lights are sometimes not required until half time.
- In any given week of 168 hours, for just eight months of the year, our lights will be required for a maximum of nine hours. This cannot be considered other than ‘limited use’.
- It must be noted that we are not - as inaccurately stated by others - starting here from a point of darkness. The club already has floodlights. 3 x m high poles and mobile lights have long provided for evening play at the Club and these can be used 6 days a week. These are substandard, no longer acceptable and would be removed by this fresh proposal. Note too that the adjacent tennis club has 8 poles, which are also in use days a week throughout the year.
- Given this and the proposed limitations in use, I would suggest that the benefits to the local community can be argued to weigh positively in the planning balance, particularly when taking into account that the existing lights can be used for greater periods of time.
- The reason why we are applying for new floodlights is not by choice. FA regulations mean we will be relegated should we not provide floodlights with significant consequences to the membership of the football club and the financial health of the adjacent sports and social club.
- Facing enforced relegation, we will lose our players to other clubs. Our principal local competitors all have floodlights. Many of these are in the Green Belt and AONB and as with Amersham Town Football Club, adjacent to a Conservation Area. Note too the amount of local tennis clubs with multiple floodlit courts in similarly sensitive locations, for example Great Missenden and Chesham 1879.
- We have done all that we can to limit impact of the lights. Despite the extremely high cost, our fully retractable poles will be just 2.8m when not in use, rising no higher than a typical sporting boundary fence. In the context of football pitches, a stand, the adjacent floodlit tennis club, social clubhouse and cricket club beyond, they would not be intrusive in this edge of the village and AONB location.
- The lights will only rise to 15m when in use and the process of raising and lowering takes no more than a minute. This height is necessary to meet lighting standards and contain light within the pitch.
- Introducing the proposed floodlights will not fundamentally change the pattern of use or increase the amount of visitors or players coming to the club. Parking is unaffected. Concerns about increasing the scale of the Club’s activities or football play are unfounded. We simply need to safeguard our present position.
I hope you can now support our proposal.