Nearly 50 people living near Duston Sports Centre, run by Trilogy Leisure on behalf of Northampton Leisure Trust, attended a public meeting last night and almost all raised their hands against the plan to build three 15m floodlights on the outdoor football pitch,
During the meeting, organised by Northamptonshire County Councillor Suresh Patel (Con, Duston East), residents complained that keeping the pitch lit for longer hours in the evening would increase the problem of football players using bad language and urinating outside nearby houses.
Concerns were also raised about the effect longer hours would have on traffic in the area.
But Duston Parish Councillor Allan Earl, assured residents that opening hours at the centre would not be extended.
He said: “It is impossible for us to keep the leisure centre open longer, we just want to make it so that teams can still use the pitch for practice during the winter until 9pm.”
Rob Austin, of Northampton Leisure Trust, added: “I feel confident that the light from the lamps will not spill onto surrounding properties.”
However, residents of houses that overlook the field on three sides argued that any lights would interfere with their children’s earlier bedtimes.
While they generally showed support for the sports centre and it’s positive impact on the community, residents accused the council of prioritising profit for clubs hiring the sports centre’s facilities over their welfare.
One man said: “We are happy to share the space and put up with the noise at the weekends, but having it all the through the week tips the balance and will diminish our quality of life in Duston.”
Residents suggested the option of hiring out sports facilities at local schools, but the councillors said that it was an expensive option “tied up in contracts”.
Mr Patel said: “I hope that the parish council will look more into the plan now that we have heard residents highlight issues we had not heard before.”
There will be a further two Duston Parish Council meetings about the plan before it goes before full council on June 10.