CPRE Thame successfully campaigned against an Oxford City Council plan for damaging floodlighting in the countryside....
The council applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for floodlighting in the car park adjacent to their sports ground in the Green Belt. It was claimed that the lighting was needed to tackle drug peddling and amorous liaisons.
CPRE Thame told councillors at the planning committee meeting that whilst Green Belt regulations allowed facilities for sport this meant essential facilities only, not floodlighting public car parks. Councillors voted 11 to 1 to overturn the officers' recommendation and refuse the application.
In due course the city council appealed. At a public hearing in January CPRE Thame again made the case against light pollution. The inspector's decision confirmed CPRE Thame's argument. He said: 'the proliferation of night light in the area of the appeal site would add to the creeping urbanisation into the Green Belt, to the detriment of the rural character of the areau2026.
'I acknowledge that there is a palpable risk of crime in the car park. I, therefore, agree that the proposed development would accord with central government guidance on crime prevention as set out in PPS 1. However, I do not consider that these benefits would outweigh the harm that would be caused to the character, appearance and visual qualities of the area or to the consistency and integrity of the Green Belt.'
The decision was significant in that it said that although lighting would give a public benefit in terms of increased security, the public benefit from maintaining dark countryside was greater.