Villagers in Rennington call for removal of streetlights to preserve dark sky views

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Residents of a Northumberland village have called for streetlights to be removed so they can enjoy the dark night skies.

Rennington Parish Council, supported by 18 local residents, has applied for streetlights installed as part of a new housing scheme at North Farm Mews to be turned off or taken away.

"It has spoiled our tranquil village and looks like a stadium,” said resident Michael Tulip.

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A condition in the planning approval for that 10-home development was a requirement for five streetlights – the village previously had just two.

Rennington, near Alnwick. Picture: GoogleRennington, near Alnwick. Picture: Google
Rennington, near Alnwick. Picture: Google

But villager, Sarah Darling, commented: “The number of street lights collectively, when shining throughout the night, deny all residents a dark sky for which Northumberland is renowned.”

Marina Fryer said: “The installation of these lights has caused much upset to new and existing residents of Rennington who have enjoyed dark skies for many years.”

Robert Dixon adds: “This lighting scheme is inappropriate for this place and should be removed.”

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They have been supported by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership despite it being some 2km outside it.

Northumberland street lights. File imageNorthumberland street lights. File image
Northumberland street lights. File image

AONB officer Sarah Winlow said: “The intrinsically dark skies of the Northumberland Coast AONB are recognised as a special quality of the designated landscape, and reduction of light pollution out with the designated area will have a positive impact for the dark skies of the AONB.”

However, councillors are being recommended to refuse the application when it goes before Northumberland County Council’s north area committee on Thursday.

A report to members explains that the streetlights have already been dimmed to their minimum level since they were first installed.

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David Love, the council’s specialist senior officer, said: “On the planning balance there is some sympathy with the parish council who are keen to maintain the night time character of the village and enjoy minimum light pollution.

"However, the streetlights are required by council highways as the road is adopted and they are required to provide streetlights.”

He added that planning approval would not result in the immediate removal of the lights as a further permission from the council’s street lighting team would be needed.

The parish council argues the street lighting ‘is unlikely to have any beneficial impact on highway safety, but has a detrimental impact on local amenity and health and wellbeing’.