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Floodlit court at Longhill School bid upsets residents
A community is up in arms over plans to resurface a school’s tennis courts and turn it into a floodlit sports facility.
Longhill High School claims its courts are in need of resurfacing on safety grounds and headteacher Haydn Stride saw the opportunity to modify the facility as a benefit for his students and the wider community.
But nearby residents have hit back at the proposals, which includes erecting 14 floodlights, claiming it would cause “a dramatic impact on the local community”.
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Mr Stride said: “The argument of the local residents is completely understandable – there will be more noise for longer.
“I accept totally that, but the benefits here completely outweigh the problems.
“These floodlights will be pointing downwards and we can block any other light that filters through with trees and fences.
“It will not only benefit my students, but the wider community as well because it’s a facility that they will be able to use.”
The school sent out 110 letters and set up a display of the plans at the adjoining Deans Leisure Centre, but residents claim to feel “steamrollered” by the proposed changes and lack of consultation.
Dirk Mitchell, who emailed The Argus on behalf of a group of concerned residents, said: “As a result of this view and intention, we feel that the headteacher has effectively alienated himself from the community, who have lived here for many years and who have historically been very supportive to the needs of Longhill High School.
“Many of the existing residents either themselves went to Longhill and sent their children to the school and have therefore continued to support many aspects of its development and even provided after hours support in previous difficult times.”
Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, has written to both the residents and Mr Stride.
He said: “I remain a firm supporter of increasing sporting participation and building a legacy from the Olympic Games, but I am equally certain that this must be done in an appropriate manner in conjunction with the local community.”
The new facility, if given the goahead, would cater for football, netball, tennis, basketball and a host of other sports and would be used by the school during school hours and opened up to the public at night and during the holidays.
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