Appeal planned in Fulwood Academy floodlight fight

Fulwood Academy
Fulwood Academy
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A flagship academy is to appeal a decision to block the installation of floodlights for an outdoor sports pitch.

Controversial plans had been lodged by Fulwood Academy to put up eight lighting columns, which had been recommended for approval by council officers.

But councillors went against the guidance, throwing out the plans because of fears about the impact on neighbours.

Residents told the meeting they were worried that if floodlights were put up, neighbours would be affected by noise from the pitch all year round. Coun Damien Moore’s comments were met with applause from a packed public gallery. He said: “The lights would be intrusive and extend the noise and antisocial behaviour that already exists.

“The quality of life for residents would be impacted and there will be no real benefit to the local community.”

The stormy meeting was told a letter submitted by the council’s sports development department in support of the plans had been withdrawn because the officer went “beyond his authority”. A subsequent letter from the sports and leisure department was thought to be “not authentic”.

Catherine Pickup, speaking on behalf of the academy, said the brightness of lights, as well as the opening hours, had been reduced.

After the meeting, principal Stephen Henry said: “The staff and particularly the students at Fulwood are disappointed that they will not be able to make use of our first class sporting facilities now for a large part of the year.

“We are proud of our record in getting our students engaged with sport after school to get fit and healthier and feel that the decision at this time may discourage some of our students in taking up sport and hobbies outside of school time. The decision to prevent lighting to be installed will also disappoint the many community groups and neighbours who have been supportive and keen to open up the Academy for wider community use. Whilst we do listen to the concerns of our local residents we feel we have taken every reasonable step to reassure and minimise any impact in the area and have dedicated a significant portion of the school’s resources to alleviate these fears. I hope that we can continue to work with the community to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged and are allowed the same experiences as other schools in the area.”