Football club not happy about new floodlight deal

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A FOOTBALL club has been allowed to turn its floodlights on more often in a deal which the club has branded ‘ridiculous’.

Locks Heath FC applied to Fareham Borough Council to increase the number of times it could use its eight 15-metre-high floodlighting columns.

Until now the club, located on ground between Hunts Pond Road and Warsash Road, has been able to use the lights 25 times per year for matches between the hours of 3.30pm and 10pm.

The club wanted to use the lights 72 times per year so that it could play more than one weeknight league match.

Councillors adjusted the application at the planning meeting and agreed to let the club use lights 50 times per year, but imposed a condition that the club did not turn on the lights more than once from Monday to Friday.

Chairman of Locks Heath FC Dougie Leask said: ‘In a way the new conditions have stitched us up.

‘With the old restrictions we could use the lights 25 times but there was no restriction on when we could use those times. So, in theory, we could use the lights any night if we wanted to. Not that we would, as we would also want to maintain the pitch.

‘We have five teams playing here now and sometimes during the season we need to play two weekday matches.

‘The councillors have made a decision without really understanding what we need and without knowing about football league matches.’

Some residents living nearby lodged complaints about cars parking along their road during games and about noise, in particular bad language, coming from the pitch.

These complaints were taken into account by the council members, who agreed to review the conditions after one year to allow time for the residents to record any increase in nuisance.

Mr Leask said that the club has a charter in place to discourage bad language and that it has signed up to the FA Respect Campaign.

Ward councillor Sarah Pankhurst said: ‘I do think that sport is very important for all the community.

‘I wish the residents who have concerns about the club would tell me about them and then I would be able to represent them.’

Chairman of the planing committee Nick Walker said: ‘We have made a compromise. It’s the responsibility of the club to ensure that there is no bad language. It’s in their hands now.’