By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, October 11, 2012
PLANS to erect floodlights in Priory Memorial Gardens have been backed by Royston Town Council, despite one councillor branding the £30,000 scheme a waste of money.
North Herts District Council want to erect six floodlight pylons at the multi-games area in the Memorial Gardens as part of a district-wide £800,000 investment in sports facilities over the next five years.
Town councillors rejected the district council’s initial application earlier this year, but have supported a revised plan after the height of the floodlights was reduced from eight to six metres.
However, Cllr Robert Smith told a meeting of Royston Town Council’s planning committee on Monday: “They are envisaging spending £30,000 on these lights. I’d have thought there were better things to be spending that money on and I don’t see the need for floodlights at the multi-games area.
“These are the Priory Memorial Gardens, not a recreation ground.”
The courts could be in use until 10pm at night, and Cllr Smith believes the light and noise generated could disturb residents, as well as posing a safety risk to drivers using the nearby A10.
Fellow tonw councillor Cllr F John Smith said: “The memorial gardens should be treated with respect, but that doesn’t prevent use of part of the area for sporting activities.”
Earlier, the committee heard from Stephen Geach, the parks and countryside development manager at the district council, who said the reduced height of the floodlights would mean the light intensity was less than that provided by the existing streetlights.
He said the lights would allow the area to be used for five-a-side football and basketball in the evenings, as well as enabling the district council and police to run programmes to help get youngsters off the streets.
“We will work with the police on diversionary activities to get youths to come in during the early evenings and give them something constructive to do,” he said.
The committee gave its support to the plans, and a final decision will be made when North Herts District Council’s planning committee meets on Thursday, Ocotber 18.
Royston Labour Party criticised the scheme, which it says “no-one is demanding.”
Spokesman Les Baker said: “It seems ridiculous to be spending £30,000 on a scheme that no-one is demanding and will be out of character with the Priory Memorial Gardens. In these days when local opinion is supposed to have been given more strength on such issues, it is a pity that residents’ views are being ignored and not being taken into consideration.”
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