Fears over light from golf driving range

CAMPAIGNERS are worried that a proposed two-storey floodlit driving range with 32 bays will increase light pollution for villagers living near Woodbridge.

CAMPAIGNERS are worried that a proposed two-storey floodlit driving range with 32 bays will increase light pollution for villagers living near Woodbridge.

Suffolk Preservation Society, Ufford and Melton parish councils and residents have warned that extra lights could be intrusive for householders and block out stars.

But agents acting for Ufford Park Hotel have told Suffolk Coastal District Council that mitigating measures could be implemented to offset the adverse impact.

The 44-bedroom hotel wants to more than double the size by adding 53 bedrooms and expand the golf complex with a pro-shop, restaurant, academy and driving range.


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The multi-million pound development will generate another 50 jobs and safeguard more than 100 jobs and the owners say they have ''commissioned exhaustive research to address any concerns which may be raised including ecology, traffic impact and landscaping.''

The plans are in a consultation stage before the council makes a final decision. Rachel Bridges, planning representative for Suffolk Preservation Society, said: ''We appreciate that the applicant has tried to mitigate the effect of the lighting that is required, but we are concerned that there could still be considerable detriment to neighbouring homes in Ufford, as well as a general increase in night glow affecting this rural landscape.''

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Parish councils want the driving range use to be restricted to a 10pm finish and they are backed by the district's environmental services department which is concerned about noise and wants a detailed schedule of mitigating measures surrounding the driving range bays.

Graham Laight, Melton parish council chairman, said there was considerable concern about the size of the development and the impact on the access onto the B1438. He wants extra signs to direct visitors to use the A12 and to avoid Woods Lane and the Melton crossroads.

The county council's tourism department stressed that the hotel was in an area of high demand and it supported the principle of expansion.

FPD Savills, on behalf of Ufford Park, has submitted a planning statement which confirms that floodlighting would contribute to sky glow.

''But this would have very limited impact on the sensitive landscape of the area if there was a reduction in car parking lighting and mitigating measures could be put in place to reduce the adverse impact on a limited number of nearby properties at night,'' said the estate agents.

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