Abacus Lighting has created an innovative retractable column aimed at solving planning objections associated with sports lighting systems
for small sports areas, such as tennis courts, multi-use games areas and ball parks.
The first client to specify the need for such a system was the prestigious Alderley Edge Cricket & Tennis Club
in Cheshire. Lighting its courts presented the opportunity to broaden the availability of its tennis facilities; however the clubs plans were rejected by the local planning board on the grounds of the potential visual intrusion of the lighting system.
Working closely with the club, Abacus designed a retractable column that could be raised to its required operating height of 7m and lowered to just 3m, helping to dramatically reduce the impact of the columns on the local environment when not in use.The Alderley Edge project was classified as an E2 environmental zone, meaning that careful consideration had to be given to ensure that light pollution was contained to the levels specified by the Institution of Lighting Engineers
and the local planning authority.
In determining the lighting design criteria for the project, Abacus designed the lighting system to achieve a maintained luminance of 300 Lux. To minimise the level of light pollution, Abacus utilised one AL5210 series floodlight
per mast, each fitted with a cowl, which provided a full cut off above the horizontal level.
This ensured the required lighting levels were easily achieved whilst providing the necessary control of light pollution to satisfy the stringent guidelines. Due to the seasonal need to lower the columns, a manually driven cable system was used, however, the retractable columns have been designed to incorporate an electrically powered motor for more frequent use.
Commenting on the system Neil Johnson, UK Sports Lighting Manager, said: "Whilst Abacus has made great strides in floodlight development to overcome specific planning objections associated with light pollution, one of the other common objections is the visual intrusion of lighting structures. The creation of a retractable column will help to reduce such planning objections and offer a practical solution that satisfies our client, their neighbours and local planning authorities"
Roger Fowler, Chairman of the Alderley Edge Cricket Clubs tennis section added: "Following many years of unsuccessful attempts to introduce floodlights onto the courts, we are delighted that Abacus has been able to create a special product to meet our needs. The introduction of a telescopic column system means that we have been able to provide a much needed facility for our seasonal cricket and tennis players, whilst significantly reducing the visual intrusion on our neighbours."