Felixstowe's disgust over appeal refusal

PUBLISHED: 12:08 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:58 04 March 2010

TONY Barnes, chairman of Felixstowe and Walton United, today said that he felt like walking away after the Ridgeons League club's appeal to keep their floodlights up all season was turned down.

TONY Barnes, chairman of Felixstowe and Walton United, today said that he felt like walking away after the Ridgeons League club's appeal to keep their floodlights up all season was turned down.

“Along with other officers at the club I felt like walking away,” said Barnes. “But that would be unfair on all the youngsters we have at Dellwood Avenue.

“To say I am disheartened would be a big understatement. This puts us at such a big disadvantage.”

Felixstowe's appeal against Suffolk Coastal District Council's refusal to allow their lights to stay up between games and training sessions was heard by a planning inspector appointed by the secretary of state.

The inspector agreed with the council that floodlights produced an 'undesirable visual impact.'

This means that Felixstowe will have to continue to raise and lower the eight towers before and after every match and training session.

“When you consider what we do for this town, and for this council, it is a kick in the stomach,” added Barnes.

“Why is it there is one set of rules for people who live beside the rugby ground in Coronation Park and the tennis club in Bath Road, and even those living within sight of the docks for that matter, and another for those living near our ground?

“The rugby and tennis clubs are allowed to keep their floodlight pylons up, and so are Woodbridge Town FC who have exactly the same lights as us and also come under the jurisdiction of Suffolk Coastal.

“As far as I know we are the only football club in the country to have to take lights down after each game or session.

“There is so much we do for the community at large with the number of youth teams we run, and with the help of the Football Association we have become heavily involved with the all-weather surface at Orwell High School.

“We are pleased to help the community but when we ask for something back we get no support.”

Felixstowe's ground is surrounded on three sides by residential housing, and for the last 20 years they have been barred from keeping their floodlights up.

Surely a town as significant as Felixstowe - it is signposted from the M6 after all - deserves to have a top quality football club. And one that is allowed to act as one.

The problem with local residents has been around long enough for the council to have found them another site by now where they can conduct their business in a professional way that befits their station.

That a few influential residents can dictate Felixstowe's football club is something that does the town and the authorities no favours at all.

In fact, the town - not the club - on this issue has long been a laughing stock.

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