PLANS to improve a football ground have received plenty of support but have sparked concerns over light pollution and the impact of increased use of the site.

The application for Long Lane, which has been submitted on behalf of Ringwood Town Council, was discussed by its planning committee on Friday.

A partnership between AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust, the town council and Ringwood Town FC have been formed to progress the project with support from New Forest District Council (NFDC), the Football Foundation and Hampshire County FA.

The plans

The plans comprise a new full size 3G artificial turf pitch with LED floodlighting, improvements to existing grass pitches, improved car parking/ infrastructure and a new pavilion with changing rooms.

Andrew Battison, of AFC Bournemouth who are involved in the project, said the existing facilities were “unfit for purpose” adding: “We want to really invest and develop that not just as a football site but as a site the community can be proud of and come and use.”


Councillors said concerns had been voiced by neighbouring residents over light pollution and the effect of increased use of the site. A letter read during the meeting raised concerns about widening the gateway and splay in Long Lane by cutting back an ancient hedgerow which would “spoil the character” of the lane.

The meeting heard the position of the new clubhouse and all weather pitch was done to “minimise” noise or light to neighbouring properties.

The planning documents state the proposed floodlights to the new football turf pitch “have for better light spillage than existing facilities on the site”.

What people have said

There have been 73 comments on NFDC’s website in support of the application. One resident said the redevelopment was “vital for the community going forward”.

One resident said it would “help to support growing the football club into an important community asset” while others commented on the need to revamp the current facilities.

A St Leonards resident said: “It will be great to see the Long Lane site get a long overdue make-over and uplift. Better facilities that are used more frequently will be good for all users of the site.”

However, the comments did flag up that car parking needed to be able to cope with peak demand periods.

The design and access statement says the scheme would provide “an opportunity to enhance an existing sub-standard facility in a sustainable manner to benefit the wider community”, adding: “We believe the scheme demonstrates consideration to the sensitivities of the site whilst also giving consideration to the strategic developments in the Ringwood area. We also believe the scheme gives appropriate thought to building in the Green Belt and has been designed in a manner which is sympathetic to the surroundings and the very special circumstances needed to develop in the Green Belt.”

What the town council decided

Committee chair Phillip Day said the application did put the town council in a “awkward” as it had been submitted by the town council.

The committee agreed to accept NFDC planning officer’s decision, and Cllr Tony Ring, as a district councillor, will request it goes to NFDC’s planning committee for debate.

New Forest District Council decide whether planning permission is granted. 

Visit: (application reference 21/11170).

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