Planning row erupts over manège lights causing ‘light pollution’

  • Local residents are protesting against a new equestrian centre in Hampshire claiming that its manège lights are causing “light pollution”.

    Claire Steel, who set up Blackwater Equestrian in Wellow with her father, argues that the lighting is necessary and that they are switched off at 8.30pm.

    “While our professional riders are able to ride during the day, most of our amateur clients work commitments mean that they need to have access to the yard during the early evening,” Ms Steel said.

    “This, of course, would not be a problem for some two thirds of the year but during the winter months the arena needs lighting and we have eight removable low level lights.

    “We fully understand that this is a sensitive area and we have not sought planning permission for all night security lighting,” she said.

    Livery Lucienne Elms, who events to three-star level, also agrees that the lights are “a necessity.”

    “You cannot train horses to an international level without a decent school and lights. It’s ridiculous to have a facility like this without the ability to use the lights,” she told H&H.

    Local resident Paul Feeney argues the light produced from the centre, which opened in December, is “unacceptable”.

    He is now mounting a campaign to get local planning bosses to turn down retrospective planning permission for the lights and other modifications to the stables.

    “This eyesore is blighting the lives of all those living around it with 24-hour daylight,” he told local press.

    “I urge everyone to sign a petition to ensure that the owners are forced to comply with the permission granted and not allowed to cynically apply for retrospective permission to keep the illegal building work already completed.”

    Ms Steel argues that the complaints are only coming from a “couple of neighbours who don’t like change”.

    Test Valley borough council will decide on the retrospective planning application for the lights and extra isolation stables on 18 April.

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