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School lights review





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Lights in the grounds of a school designed to be eco-friendly are being left on.

The free-standing lights at the Minster School, Southwell, come on at dusk and go off at dawn. The school says it is reviewing its lighting strategy.

Town councillor Mr Andrew Gregory told a meeting of the finance and policy committee that the lighting was inappropriate at a school that was trying to be eco-friendly.

He was also concerned about the angle of the floodlights on the school’s football pitch.

“We really need to get them to sort out the angle because they light up the whole sky,” he said.

“Large floodlights are going up in the carpark at the front of the school so there will potentially be even more lighting in that area.”

Mr Peter Harris said the lighting was excessive in a rural environment.

“Light pollution was a concern of ours in the planning application and we asked them to note and be aware of that concern,” he said.

“I certainly hadn’t realised there would be quite so much electricity usage for the lights at night.”

After the meeting Mr Gregory said light from the school illuminated his house on Park Lane, Brackenhurst, which was around 500 metres away.

“The school is claiming to be eco-friendly and I would think they would want to look into this issue on that basis,” he said.

“I realise it is for security until they set up security lights.

“They are waiting to replace them but we’re nearly a year into the building being there and it makes you wonder how long things are going to take to be sorted.”

Mr Gregory said floodlights at the War Memorial Recreation Ground, Southwell Rugby Club and the dry play area at Southwell Leisure Centre were only on when the areas were in use.

The school head, Mr Phil Blinston, said they had received one letter of complaint about the lights.

“There is a review going on looking at what proportion of lights can be turned off at night and we are looking to improve our strategy,” he said.

“We’re still learning to live in the building.

“I don’t think people believe we want to waste electricity and throw light into the countryside because it is not what we are about as a school.”

Mr Blinston said electricians had worked on the football pitch floodlights this week to make sure they were angled correctly.

He said security lighting was due to be attached to the school building.

“Now we are aware of people’s concerns we will be setting the timer to switch the current lights off when the school finishes its community use in the evening,” said Mr Blinston.

“The building is available to be used by the community until 10pm and we will give people a chance to get back to their cars before switching the lights off.

“We think the external lighting system will be operational before Easter.”



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