Friday, 14 May 2021

Tennis club to install 8m tall floodlights

FLOODLIGHTS are to be installed at the tennis courts at the Berkshire County Sports Club in Sonning.

The club in Sonning Lane has been granted planning permission by Wokingham Borough Council to fit a series of 8m high poles.

This will allow tennis to be played after dark and increase playing time by up to 60 per cent a year.

It is part of a wider plan, supported by the Lawn Tennis Association, to replace and refurbish the existing courts and boost declining membership.

The club said the floodlights would help it to attract new players and open up the facility to children from schools in Sonning, Woodley and Earley.

Its planning statement said: “Our membership has declined and we need to boost participation.

“Floodlights would be a big help to expand our target market. Without floodlights, we are finding it difficult to retain and attract new members.

“Overall, we aim to achieve sustainability by substantially increasing revenue via both pay and play and increased membership income.”

Some neighbours were concerned about the resulting light pollution,

Andrew Barker, of Sonning Lane, said: “The nearest part of my house is about 10m from the nearest lamp pylon. My biggest concern is light spillage and noise from players.

“I would ask the planning committee to restrict the times that the lighting can be used to a reasonable period.

“While I don’t like the thought of 15 towers 8m tall sticking up from the courts, I am not objecting to the application itself.”

Sonning Parish Council suggested restricting the opening hours to 9.30am to 8.30pm to reduce the “nuisance levels”.

It said: “The light pollution emitting from this and adjoining sites in Sonning Lane has increased over the past few years, moving closer and closer to residential properties.

“The proposal will increase the need to travel to the facilities by private car. It is clear from those supporting the application that the facilities are already used extensively by non-Sonning residents.”

The permission is subject to the tennis courts only being used between 9am and 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 7pm at weekends and on bank holidays.

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