Upminster Rugby Club floodlight plan approved

Upminster players huddle together before one of their matches (Pic: Alex Fisher)

Upminster players huddle together before one of their matches (Pic: Alex Fisher) - Credit: Archant

A rugby club’s senior coach has got the go-ahead to have floodlights installed at the club’s ground after an 18-month battle with objectors.

Upminster Rugby Club’s Scott Kennedy, 43, of Upminster, is “pleased the struggle is over” now that the six 13 metre tall lighting columns are set to replace temporary diesel-powered floodlight units at Upminster Hall Playing Fields in Hall Lane, Upminster.

The planning application was accepted initially but called in by Havering Council’s regulatory services committee after it received 14 objections citing fears over more cars in the area, light pollution and the “urbanising effect” of the lights to the area.

The council’s report stated it was called in on the grounds of “the potential impact on a large number of residential properties”.

In the report, those objecting said that “light interference to nearby houses would be an invasion of privacy”, that the temporary lighting was “adequate” and that there would be “increased noise levels through wind blowing around the structures”.

In response, Mr Kennedy organised an event at the club on Tuesday to discuss the plans with those concerned, before the committee met yesterday (Thurs) to make the decision.

“No one turned up,” he said.

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“And the fact that none of those who objected has said that they want to speak at the committee meeting strikes me as people not committing themselves when it comes to the nitty-gritty.”

The club, which has received £50,000 in funding from the Rugby Football Union (RFU), has had the plans approved subject to conditions including restrictions on when the lights can be used and work on installing them should start.

He said: “People have the right to object but I’m at a bit of a loss looking at their reasons. Some people are saying things like it’s going to cause light pollution and my answer is the lighting will fall within regulation.”

He added: “We’re just trying to provide better facilities for the people that use the club. We want to have more members and we want more people taking interest in sport.”

Mr Kennedy hopes to install the floodlights by September.