Head teacher hopes compromise will end floodlight dilemma
A long-running dispute about the brightness of a school's sport floodlights could soon be resolved with a new compromise.
Towards the end of last year, people living near Beechen Cliff School at Bear Flat complained about the intensity of the lights and pointed out that a condition of their planning consent meant they had to be switched off after 6pm.
In response, head teacher Andrew Davies banned clubs and groups from using the football pitches after that time and began work on a new planning application for the facility.
Now a trial period has been planned with new, dimmer lights to see if that reduces the impact on local residents, particularly those living in Greenway Lane and Lyncombe Hill.
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Mr Davies said he hoped they would be able to come to a compromise that suited everybody involved.
He said: "We want to do the best we can for everyone. It is never easy, but our aspiration is that it won't have any direct impact on people living nearby and the planners will come to a view that we have achieved that.
"We hope that by reducing the lighting it will still be usable by the many, many community groups that want to play football here."
Bath City Youth FC is one of the groups which have previously used the Beechen Cliff sports facilities and is hoping to do so again this winter.
However, chairman Ray Li said it would be very difficult if they did not have the lights to train in the evenings.
He said: "We would like to use the facilities, but we start training in September and then from around late September we need the lights.
"During the winter that has just gone we squeezed sessions together and we ended up being quite cramped, but we knew it was just for three months so we managed to get by.
"But we've got a couple more teams this year so I don't think we could manage."
He added: "This issue is very important to us because if we are trying to provide for as many children as possible, we need the facilities to train on.
"We probably would have taken on more players this year because we are always getting queries, but we have had to turn people away."
Paddy Doyle, chair of the Widcombe Association, has previously spoken on behalf of concerned residents, and welcomed the latest developments.
He said: "We welcome the school's practical moves towards alleviating the nuisance effect of the floodlighting and are hopeful that the adjustments made will be effective.
"We expect that local residents will be informed of the timing of the tests so we will be able to make our own judgment on the effectiveness of any changes made."