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  • TP Editorial Team

Anyone for Tweener® tennis?

On behalf of our clients, Sutton Coldfield Tennis Club, we are delighted to have secured planning permission for an alternative form of external lighting to one of their outdoor courts. Tweener ® by NLX is an award-winning LED innovative tennis court lighting solution - the system does not require any structural works and is effectively a ‘plug and play’ system, attached to existing court fencing.


The low-level positioning nature of the lights, the concentrated directional lighting, and attachment to existing court fencing means that the lighting system would not make any material change to the appearance of the site in the daytime and at night time, when in operation, there will be no light spillage to nearby residential properties.


Tennis has been played on the Sutton Coldfield Tennis Club site since 1922 when it had only 4 courts and a pavilion. In subsequent years the playing facilities and club house have been significantly extended to include more tennis courts, squash courts and a gym. There are now 12 tennis courts including four indoor courts (two in the covered air hall which is in place during the winter months).


The court subject to the planning application, Court 9, is the only court with a manmade artificial clay surface of its type in the area. As an example, Brummie Dan Evans (currently the UK no 2) trained on it in 2022 and 2023 in the weeks leading up to Roland Garos (French Open) to get an authentic opportunity to train on clay. The court is very attractive to players who want the clay court experience. For this reason, the Club wished to extend the amount of play that is possible on the court - particularly in the off-season.


The main planning issues for consideration in determination of the planning application were whether the proposed Tweener® lighting system would make any material change to the appearance of the site and Court 9, alongside any changes to the use of the court, and whether these changes would have an acceptable impact on visual and residential amenity, and on highway safety.


The Council agreed that the main considerations in the application were whether the proposal would be acceptable development in that location and whether any harm would be caused to the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and highway safety. We supported the planning application with specialist reports by lighting consultants and acoustic consultants. There were no highway safety, tree or ecological issues. Some objections were raised to the proposal in terms of potential impact on neighbouring residential amenity, but the Council considered with the existing extensive use of the Club site, that the lighting was unlikely to generate any significantly greater noise levels than the existing use. Furthermore, a condition limiting the use of the lights until no later than 9pm was attached to the permission with the agreement of the Club.




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