Bawdsey: Objectors fear inflatable dome would harm historic radar site

Bawdsey Manor

Bawdsey Manor - Credit: Archant

Objections have been raised over proposals to place an inflatable dome over two tennis courts on the historic Bawdsey Manor estate.

The aim of the project – which will include a storage shed and six floodlights for night-time use of the courts – is to create all-weather tennis facilities for the Alexanders International School.

The plans have raised concerns from English Heritage, worried about the impact on the manor, which played a major role in the Second World War after radar was developed there, and objections from parish councillors.

The school has been operating from the site since 1994 and welcomes children from all over the world to learn English.

Bawdsey Parish Council said the new building was not sympathetic to the surroundings of a Grade II-listed park, and sunlight reflection and glare would make the enclosure very conspicuous from surrounding areas, particularly in winter when tree cover provides little screening.

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The floodlighting from eight metre columns would provide glare at night over a wide area.

English Heritage said construction of the dome had the “potential to affect the character of the landscape and setting of the historic buildings” and more information was needed to properly assess the application.

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Case officer Michaelle Coupe, who is recommending Suffolk Coastal’s north area development management sub committee approve the project today, said the school felt the dome was essential for its academic programme and approval would help to support the continued use of the estate by the school.

She said: “Given the natural screening of the site by trees, land levels and existing buildings, it is not considered the proposals would be significantly intrusive over a wide area and the AONB.”

The nine-metre dome was a single transparent membrane that needed no lighting for daytime use, was anchored to the ground, and kept up with a small electric fan. It would enable the courts to be used up to 9pm.

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