Tennis club faces volley of protests

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

A SHEFFIELD tennis club has run into community opposition over a fresh attempt to secure permission for floodlights.

Objections have been lodged in a 74-name petition and 38 letters and by Dore Village Society and councillors Colin Ross,Joe Otten and Keith Hill in response to the application from Dore and Totley Tennis Club off Devonshire Road.

It is argued that light would spill into neighbouring properties houses and would lead to more noise and traffic problems as playing hours were extended.

The councillors say the lights would be “obtrusive” and “overbearing” for neighbours.

Planning permission for floodlights was refused two years ago - and councillors will be advised by their officers on Monday to reject the latest request on the basis of the impact on the character of the residential area, with the glare spilling into neighbours’ properties.

A council report says: “This is an application seeking to introduce floodlighting into a wholly residential area with low levels of existing night time illumination.

“It is considered that the floodlights will cause both direct light intrusion towards neighbouring properties and alter the evening/night time character of the locality.

“It is also felt that the additional activity from extra hours of play on the courts and activity within the clubhouse along with associated vehicle impacts is likely to represent a significant impact on residential amenity.”

Officers accept that during the summer, the courts can be used until about 10pm without floodlights. However, residents have some respite during the autumn and winter, and it is not felt that allowing members to play later or the potential to encourage sporting and healthy community activity outweighs the impact on neighbours.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that on-street parking does occur, and is an inconvenience to local residents, but strictly in terms of highway safety, the situation in the winter would be no greater than that occurring at other times of the year.”

The club wants to install lighting on three courts, using eight nine-metre high columns. Council permission for three courts and a pavilion was granted in 2001 - with a condition that no floodlights be installed for the sake of neighbours. There are back gardens of houses off Abbeydale Park Rise as well as Devonshire Road.