Families neighbouring a nine-pitch football development in London Colney fear they will be plagued by an "immense blast of year-round light pollution" if nearby woodland is chopped down. 

Last month development work begun on the new leisure centre in Cotlandswick, which will provide a sports hall, gym and nine artificial football pitches.

Nearby residents affected by the council development, which will replace London Colney’s Adventure World, are concerned about the new car park, which will be built near homes in High Street, and the additional 38 floodlights planned to be installed.

David Holroyd’s home backs onto the development and he said he was not opposed to the development itself but he was concerned about chopping woodland that currently acts as a "shield" for the floodlights, which are on until 10pm.  

The filmmaker said: "This area was originally wooded in order to prevent the huge floodlights from the nearby football ground from shining into adjacent residents' homes. 

"The removal of this woodland and its replacement with a car park with additional floodlights will now severely affect the homes and residents in both High Street and Suffolk Close creating an immense blast of year-round light pollution.

"This will affect sleep patterns, especially those of small children, and create a security risk by destroying the barrier between the houses and the new sports centre."

The new leisure centre will be the third to be built by St Albans City and District Council in the past three years following Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre and Batchwood Sports Centre.

The new complexes will include a 60-station gym, an exercise studio, a single court sports hall, and outdoor and indoor children’s play areas. More than 100 parking spaces will accompany the development along with 35 cycle spaces. 

David’s wife Deseree Toh said, because the development is on Green Belt land, the council should not be encouraging driving. 

She said: "There are good public transport links and people could cycle or walk to the centre, which is what the council should be promoting.

"Also, the existing floodlights are already an issue for some residents and removing this screening will now be an even bigger issue.  

"Others residents that don't back directly on to the woodland are horrified that a wildlife haven for bats, hedgehogs and garden frogs - all rare and endangered species - won't have a home. 

"The bird song from this area can be heard by all neighbouring residents and it actually masks the traffic buzz from the north orbital. With the birds gone this area will suffer the full effect of noise pollution."

Ian Hider who also lives in High Street said he was most concerned about the natural screen that the woodland provides.

The 54-year-old said: "Obviously once destroyed the woodland could not be replaced.

"I am most upset by this as, besides being an important area for nature, the trees provide a natural screen for the houses joined to the development. 

"If removed we will all be open to the disruption of the building works as well as the light and noise pollution once the centre is opened.

"I am not opposed to the development itself, but I do not see why the woodland will be cleared especially as it was only planted around five years ago." 

Mr Hilder believes the car park would have been better at the bottom of the field, which has access to the A414. 

Richard Shwe, head of community services at St Albans City and District Council, said: "Noise and light assessments were carried out in relation to the use of the playing pitches during planning process. To limit any impact, restrictions have been imposed on the hours that the outdoor pitches can be used.

"The lamps that are proposed for use on the external pitches are also designed to reduce light spill and glare. 

"Under the approved plans, car parking is split into two areas with tree and shrub planting within the layout. We will need to remove some brambles and existing vegetation to provide space for the rear car park."

The development is expected to be finished by summer 2015. A site manager will attend a meeting with residents who have concerns at 6.30pm on Tuesday, August 19, at the Cotlandswick park cabins.