Residents glare at hotel plans

CONCERNS over skyglow and glare from lights at a proposed new golf driving range could have "severe implications" for the project's viability.Ufford Park Hotel at Melton wants to improve its golf facilities as part of a massive scheme to more than double the size of the hotel and leisure complex.

CONCERNS over skyglow and glare from lights at a proposed new golf driving range could have "severe implications" for the project's viability.

Ufford Park Hotel at Melton wants to improve its golf facilities as part of a massive scheme to more than double the size of the hotel and leisure complex.

But planning officers say lights at the golf range will shine into residents' homes and harm an area of outstanding natural beauty.

They have ordered lights out by 7.30pm - the peak time for golfers to practise.

It is hoped a compromise solution can be reached with the hotel owners, who have warned that if the golf range is less viable it could endanger the whole project.

The plans will be discussed by Suffolk Coastal council's south area development control sub committee on Thursday November 13.

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Ufford Park wants to expand the 44-bed hotel by providing 53 extra bedrooms and a two-storey 32 bay floodlit driving range plus restaurant, pro-shop and golf academy.

The 120-acre parkland complex already has a restaurant, bar and conference facilities, leisure club, with gym and swimming pool, and an 18 hole golf course.

Nearby residents' main concerns are extra traffic the scheme will generate, particularly at the Melton crossroads, and glare from the driving range lights, especially for people living on the Parklands development.

The range would be lit by seven floodlights mounted on the building at eight metres high and 24 floodlights mounted on the range at a height of one metre. It is proposed to operate from 7am to 10.30pm seven days per week.

The applicants' impact assessment concedes that glare will be significant and "potential light intrusion and glare is a major concern", advising planting is needed to provide adequate screening.

In a report planners said the times would create "unacceptable sky glow late into the night when such an area would normally be dark".

Agents for Ufford Park suggest a 9.30pm switch-off, two hours later than the planners preferred time.

"Limiting the lighting to 7.30pm would mean the loss of the business during the period of greatest demand," said the agents.

And they warned failure to compromise would have "severe repercussions on the viability of the development."

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