New campaign launched to bring floodlights to Sidmouth College pitch

Brand new floodlights could light up Sidmouth College’s all-weather pitch if a campaign spearheaded by a county councillor is successful.

Cllr Stuart Hughes is reviving a bid seeking to bring a much-needed boost to the town’s clubs which are currently forced to use out-of-town facilities in the evenings.

It comes after the success of six environmentally-friendly lights which were installed at Sidmouth Town AFC earlier this year.

Cllr Hughes said the lights at the Manstone Recreation Ground, which are more than 13 metres high, had been ‘tried and tested’ and had no overspill.

He added this was just what the college’s all-weather pitch needed.

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In 2010 similar plans were submitted by the college, in Primley Road, but were scrapped following strong opposition from residents who feared it would have a detrimental affect on the area.

Steve Ellison, Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club’s chair, said the club used the college’s pitch for 50 per cent of its matches.

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He added not being able to use the pitch in the evenings between now and spring meant they had to go to Ottery.

He said: “Having lights at Sidmouth would give us the opportunity to train and play in the evenings, during the week.

“It would make a big difference to have the lights at Sidmouth College.

“It would encourage young and old alike to get involved in sport that aren’t with a club.”

A spokesman for LED, which runs the pitch for the college, said they had been in contact with Cllr Hughes and agreed to arrange a meeting with the college, Devon County Council and East Devon District Council to discuss the campaign after half-term.

Original plans for floodlighting at Sidmouth College were put forward to East Devon District Council in 1992 but it was resolved that it was unacceptable in the location.

When the bid was renewed a second time in 2010 the blueprints stated that during the winter months it was ‘impossible’ to have afterschool sporting matches outside, despite having an all-weather pitch. And, local sports clubs were desperate for training facilities.

At the time, the plans, which included eight 15-metre high columns, acknowledged neighbouring properties immediately adjacent to the pitch would be affected. There was strong public opinion against it and the college scrapped the plans.

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