Larkhall Football Club Pavilion, Plain Ham, Valley View Road, Charlcombe, Bath
The proposed site of development is Larkhall Football Club, situated within the Green Belt, Cotswolds AONB, and indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage Site as well as the Charlcombe Conservation Area to the west. The site forms part of the wider west-east slope from Woolley Lane with views out to the east over the Larkhall area of Bath, although it is noted that the site is strategically screened with tree planting along the north and east sides of the pitch. There are already floodlights installed on the pitch, and the applicant has provided evidence of planning permission granted in 1999 for the erection of floodlighting on the football pitch and training area.
Application 22/03483/FUL has been separately approved for the upgrade of the existing grass pitch with modern synthetic playing surface.
BPT acknowledges the cited benefits of upgrading the existing floodlights to LEDs, such as improved energy efficiency and improved performance for pitch users. The existing floodlighting columns would be retained and reused, and as such there would be no increase in lighting volume or height. The applicant has also indicated increased community use and access, which would constitute a public benefit.
Where the use of LEDs is proposed, BPT has recently drawn attention to the implications of blue-tone LED lighting on Bath’s landscape setting, in relation to both the appearance of landscape views and impact on important local ecosystems. We therefore encourage consideration of options to mitigate potential impact where reasonable, such as use of LEDs in a warmer colour scale, use of lower lumen lamps, and close focus of lighting on the areas required to minimise light spill and over-lighting. Our guidance is available in full via our website: https://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/v2-Condensed-Lighting-Advice-Dark-Skies-pdf-3.pdf
We maintain that associated consequences of the proposed change of use need to be considered in relation to impacts on long-distance landscape views and the visual amenities of the AONB and Green Belt, such as the indicated extension to the hours of floodlight use up until 22:00pm Monday-Saturday, where previous permission only permitted use up until 22:00pm for a maximum of three days a week. We would welcome further engagement to better understand whether any light spill is anticipated from the site as part of proposals and how this may affect or change the pitch’s appearance in rural views across the Green Belt and AONB, particularly during periods of low light in the evenings and the winter season, through a proportionately detailed landscape visual impact assessment.
We would further encourage clarification on the proposed illumination levels, where the horizontal illuminance levels document provided (as amended, submitted 19/05/2023) appears to indicate a calculated average maintained horizontal illuminance level of 213 lux, in excess of the given threshold of 200 lux by Sports England.