Floodlights are given green light

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FLOODLIGHTS erected without planning permission at Knockburn House, Strachan, are to remain in place, despite concerns expressed by Aberdeenshire councillors over light pollution.

Full planning permission for erection of the floodlights and a storage cabin was submitted retrospectively to the council by applicants 2D Developments, of Auchattie, Banchory. Members of the Marr Area Committee discussed the application at their meeting in Alford on Tuesday (March 6).

The application was for two 250w floodlights erected on six posts, on the north and south sides of the approved training area, which had already been erected. Permission was also sought for the siting of a storage cabin to the north of the training area, for use of the City and Shire Primary School Youth Football, which would provide a base for coaches, trainers, support staff and medics, and as a shelter during matches.

A previous planning application on the same site included erection of a leisure building including ancillary bunkhouse, residential accommodation, ancillary café,

meeting room and function room, associated car parking, roads, paths, footbridge and formation of two training areas.

This was refused by Marr Area Committee and approved at appeal in 2010, though never proceeded with.

Another application for erection of a smaller leisure building was later submitted, including meeting room, break-out area, associated car parking, roads and training area. This was approved and has been constructed.

Planners had recommended councillors grant permission for the floodlights. Five letters of representation were received, raising concerns, including: The introduction of unacceptable light pollution into the area; a floodlit pitch would be more suited to an urban environment and the development would have a further negative impact on the local community in terms of noise levels, increased traffic and increased light levels.

Cllr Peter Argyle said: “I appreciate this is a long-running and controversial development but we have to look at what’s in front of us - it is two floodlights, not to be used after 10pm. Any impact that is going to have is going to be extremely minimal. On its merits, I think the recommendation is correct.”

Cllr Jill Webster said: “It’s a very rural and quiet area with little going on around it. It’s defined as an intrinsically dark landscape and this is going to create a light pollution situation. I do not see that there’s a need for these lights.”

Cllr Karen Clark agreed, saying she too thought the lights would have an impact on local surroundings and she didn’t think it fair to local residents.

Cllr Linda Clark said: “We have a lot of people round about there who are concerned about certain things and in the interests of being fair I would refuse this and back my colleagues’ judgement.”

Three councillors voted to refuse permission, but were outnumbered, with seven voting to grant, with conditions, including floodlighting no later than 9pm and a brightness limitation.