Sidmouth Olympian’s plans for tennis court lights refused


Tennis - Credit: Archant

An Olympian’s plans to retain floodlights at a private tennis court in Salcombe Regis have been refused due to the ‘unacceptable’ level of light pollution.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers said there was insufficient justification for the lighting at Thorn House and refused planning permission over fears for the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Owner and eventing star Mary King MBE won permission for the tennis courts in 2014 after arguing playing the sport will boost her and her daughter’s careers by helping them maintain their fitness.

Her retrospective application for the floodlights said the lighting was necessary for them to continue playing tennis during the winter.

Norman Lockyer Observatory users were among the objectors, saying the century-old facility is of historical significance and relies on ‘very dark’ skies.

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A letter of objection to EDDC added: “Any possible light pollution encroachment will not only hamper, but prevent, many of the activities and experiments carried out by our members and shared with the general public locally, nationally and quite regularly around the world.”

Also objecting to the floodlights, Mrs King’s nearest neighbours said they were ‘horrified’, adding: “The lights lit up the whole area, the sky and our house, inside and out. We do not even have a street light in Salcombe Regis - why would these lights be acceptable?”

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Refusing the retrospective application, EDDC officers said the floodlights resulted in an unacceptable level of light intrusion into an area of open countryside.

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