Residents of Hampstead, one of London’s more affluent suburbs, are protesting against the instillation of twenty-foot floodlights at a private tennis club.
The president of West Heath Lawn Tennis Club and a former Wimbledon umpire, Dr Sultan Gangji, has requested permission to erect floodlights to illuminate two outdoor courts until 9.30pm.
Naturally, some of the residents of the £10 million mansions surrounding the club are not eager to hear the soft whack of tennis balls long into the night, and they are even less keen on having powerful floodlights glaring through their curtains.
Local residents have complained that the lights will turn the area into something akin to a football stadium and have noted that the fixtures will ruin stargazing and disturb local wildlife.
Dr.Gangji is a longstanding member of the West Heath Tennis Club and had quite an illustrious career as an umpire, officiating at proceedings for Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
The umpire was also on the end of a volley of abuse from John McEnroe. When Dr.Gangji awarded a point to an opponent, the legendary tempestuous tennis ace protested, ‘How many mistakes are you going to make before we change officials?’
A handful of Hampstead residents think Dr.Gangji’s latest move is a mistake too and a number of objections have been filed with Camden council over the floodlighting plan.
The tennis club has stated that the lights will not shine on people’s homes, however, it is true that London has a very serious problem with light pollution and many in the area will argue that the new floodlights are likely to add insult to injury.