In September 2006, Oxford City Council submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council to install flood-lighting columns in half of the car park at the Sports Ground on Oxford Road Horspath. Horspath Parish Council considered that the application should be refused on the grounds that the lighting is unnecessary and an intrusion into the Green Belt. Low level and low power lighting should be used if at all necessary. Oxford Green Belt Network objected on the grounds of an increased level of light close to a rural area within the Green Belt. The proposal would add to the creeping urbanisation of this area and detrimentally affect the rural character of the Green Belt between the City and the village of Horspath. CPRE/Thame Area objected on the grounds of light pollution and impact on the Green Belt. Not confident that lighting is specifically necessary for purposes allowed within the Green Belt and questioned whether objectives could be achieved without high column lighting.
In March 2007 the application was refused at a meeting of the SODC Planning Committee. Cllr. Heather Palmer represented Horspath Parish Council at the meeting and you can read her presentation at the meeting. Michael Tyce represented OGBN and CPRE/Thame Area.
On 4 September 2007 Oxford City Council lodged an Appeal.
On 30 January 2008 - Horspath Parish Council and SODC, supported by OGBN and CPRE/Thame Area, contested Oxford City Council's Appeal. The hearing was held in Horspath Village Hall and was attended by numerous Horspath Villagers and other friends.
On 7 March 2008 the Inspector's Judgement was published.
The Planning Inspector rejected the appeal by Oxford City Council for flood lighting on the grounds that the Athletics Ground Car Park was only given planning consent within the Green Belt on the grounds that it was an essential compliment to the Athletics Ground. Therefore, he concluded that other uses for the Car Park were inappropriate within the Green Belt. He also concluded that the lighting itself would represent a further urban encroachment into the rural character of the area which would undermine the separation of Horspath Village from Oxford City. It is an important judgement which recognizes that floodlighting columns add to urban sprawl and that their lighting detracts from a village's rural setting.
Thanks to the Representatives of Horspath PC, OGBN and CPRE for their excellent presentations and well done Villagers for your valuable support. Read the full text of the Inspector's judgement, available in PDF format (57 Kb).