A PLAN to build floodlit tennis courts under the second darkest skies in the Cotswolds has been approved on appeal.

Wychwood Tennis Club was refused planning permission to build the four floodlit courts and a pavilion at The Wychwood Golf Club in Lyneham last year.

But now the Planning Inspectorate has overturned West Oxfordshire District Council’s decision and will allow the development to go ahead.

Residents say the floodlights will cause light pollution in a part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where the night sky can easily be seen.

Work is expected to start on the project at the end of March and the new £400,000 tennis facility could open in late June.

Lyneham resident Howard Sherwood, 56, said: “We feel very disappointed.

“There will clearly be a patch of bright light which will not only be visible from high points but also in the night sky.”

Appeal inspector Sarah Colebourne said the development included enough screening to protect residents from light pollution and the lights would not have a significant impact on the surrounding area.

She added: “The proposed development would not cause significant harm to, and would conserve and enhance, the character and appearance of the AONB and would accord in this respect with both national and local policies.”

She also ruled that restricting the lights after 9.30pm between Monday and Saturday and banning them on Sundays, a move suggested by the district council, was “unreasonable”.