Bromley locals have objected to plans for a new set of floodlights at Crystal Palace FC’s academy, claiming the site’s increased usage has caused ‘bedlam’ on the road.

The club’s academy sits on Copers Cope Road in Beckenham.

The club has applied to Bromley Council to have four 21 metre tall floodlight columns installed on its academy grounds to illuminate the central pitch.

Council documents said this would be done to allow matches to be played on the site after sundown as the club is required to host outdoor matches in winter.

The Crystal Palace Football Club Academy is based on Copers Cope Road in Beckenham

The lights are reportedly also required to allow the academy to be used as a Premier League 2 venue for youth matches as the main pitch on the site has currently not been approved for such use.

This has caused the club to rent space from Sutton United in the previous year to play home matches.

The plans have received 48 objections from locals, with some stating they are worried the additions to the site would convert it into a ‘stadium by stealth’.

Ward councillors Michael Tickner and Will Connolly have also called in the decision based on concerns relating to light pollution and the impact on neighbouring amenity.

Stephanie Sfakianos, 66, has lived on Copers Cope Road with her husband for over 30 years and has a garden that backs onto the site.

She said that neighbours are worried that the installation of the floodlights would ‘open the floodgates’ for the site being used at later times during the day.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “It’s obvious that when Crystal Palace applied for the original permission, they grossly understated the amount of usage the site was going to get.

"I think the concern amongst the neighbours is the council has been extremely weak in enforcing the hours for which the club has approval to use the site.”

Ms Sfakianos claimed the site is often used outside of its approved operating hours for activities such as bin collections and players returning from away matches.

She added that the increased footfall in the area from the interest in the academy has made it very difficult to navigate her residential road.

She said: “It’s an accident waiting to happen. The parents all congregate on the pavement outside the club because they’re not allowed in.

"They are parking a little bit further down and are causing mayhem further down the road.”

She added: “The road is now really busy and really dangerous. You should not have little children running around unsupervised up and down outside. It’s bedlam.”

The proposal will be considered alongside plans to add underground sports therapy pools and other building alterations, with the site having been subject to several planning applications in recent years.

Council officers recommended that permission for the new floodlights be approved, claiming the scheme would not adversely impact neighbours’ amenity or wildlife.

A Crystal Palace Football Club spokesperson told the LDRS that the academy was the pride of the club and extensive redevelopment had been carried out on the site in 2020.

This has led to the space having six full-size pitches including a show pitch, outdoor 3G pitch with floodlighting and a covered indoor training pitch with a built-in sprinkler system.

They said: “The applications being considered on Thursday by the Bromley Council planning committee are part of a series of further upgrades to the facilities so that we can provide high quality facilities for the hundreds of young people who we will support over the coming years.”

They added: “Our neighbours are important to us, and we have worked with the council planning department to ensure that the applications for floodlighting and highways have the minimum possible impact on those living close to the site.

"Council officers have considered all aspects of our applications and have recommended that councillors give approval to our application.”

The decision on the new floodlights and additional changes planned for the club’s academy grounds will be discussed at a planning meeting for Bromley Council on June 13.

A Bromley Council spokesperson told the LDRS: “Two planning applications have been received at the Crystal Palace FC Academy on Copers Cope Road to provide floodlight columns and for a new basement and extended sports hall with further provision such as car parking.

"The application will be determined in line with planning policy in the usual way, with resident and neighbour comments received during the planning process also being considered as part of this.”

They added: “The council has received complaints about breaches of planning control at this site and has acted wherever possible to enforce against these.”