Neighbours have again listed their concerns on Rye College’s second planning application this year. The new application to Rother District Council (RDC) is to erect eight ‘lighting columns’ across the staff car park. The lights will be six metres in height and located within the car park that is bordered by The Grove and Love Lane. As a way of comparison, the current street lights along The Grove and Love Lane are around 4.5m in height.
Local residents have objected to their height and the resulting light pollution. One objector went onto say, “The recent construction of high industrial ‘Fort Knox’ fencing and this proposal for ‘floodlighting’ is unsympathetic and out of character in Love Lane.”
Rye Conservation Society (RCS) has also raised an objection likening the College’s lighting plans to those of an edge-of-town retail park and not suitable for a quiet residential neighbourhood.
These objections are hot on the heels of the College’s other planning application – to construct a multi-use games area (MUGA) on the playing field at the rear of the school.
In its most recent letter, the Conservation Society felt that Rother needs to consider both applications together and not in isolation. In a strongly worded letter objecting to the scheme it criticised the College for not taking the time to consult with local residents in advance of submitting either planning application.
The large number of objections may have caught the College by surprise. Nearly 50 people have submitted comments, including a petition from 20 local residents, and the vast majority object to the scheme, mostly on the grounds of light and noise pollution.
In the case of the football pitch the “light columns” will be 15m in height and will tower over neighbouring properties and the landscape (see photo above of a similar “light column” at The Grove level crossing).
The noise from the football pitch has also caused concerns with neighbours. In a recent submission to Rother from MRL Acoustics, MRL have concluded that “taking into account the character of the noise from a synthetic pitch, we consider that it will be necessary to implement a scheme of noise mitigation measures in order to protect residential amenity for dwellings located at the end of Tillingham Avenue.” MRL Acoustic’s full report can be found here.
The acoustic professionals have recommended that the south-western perimeter of the football pitch should have a solid acoustic screen of at least 2m in height and “constructed in the form of a solid earth bund or solid masonry” to help screen the voices of both players and spectators.
In a recently submitted revised planning application to Rother, the College has proposed installing a 2m high acoustic timber fence. Whether timber as opposed to masonry will satisfy the planners is anyone’s guess but one thing has become clear – the school has failed to communicate its plans to its neighbours at every step of this process.
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy.