Tennis court car park goes to vote

Protesting over plans to turn them into a car park on October 13

Protesting over plans to turn them into a car park on October 13 - Credit: Archant

GROVE Park tennis courts have moved a step closer to becoming a car park after North Somerset Council officers recommended the proposal be approved.

Councillors are due to discuss the idea and take a vote on it at tonight’s (Thurs) south area committee meeting.

The local authority wants to tarmac over the courts, which have fallen into disrepair, and replace them with an 86-space car park extension.

However the plans have been met with considerable opposition, including an online petition attracting more than 260 signatures.

A protest was held last week on the courts and campaigners are due to speak at today’s meeting at Weston Town Hall, which starts at 6pm.

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Weston Town Council opposes the idea in its statement as part of the planning application.

It criticises North Somerset Council for its ‘factually inaccurate’ claim the Diocese of Bath and Wells has agreed to lift an ancient covenant it holds over the area concerning what the site can be used for.

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The covenant means the land must be used for recreational purposes in perpetuity, unless the church leaders agree to waive that restriction. To date, they have not.

Other drawbacks - including fears the courts would be allowed to into disrepair, concerns over a car park increasing levels of antisocial behaviour and the loss of a sporting facility in a socially-deprived area - have also been raised by the town council.

Sport England has voiced its concern too and said if the tennis courts are lost, similar facilities should be created elsewhere.

North Somerset Council has promised to use some of the revenue generated by the car park to upgrade the tennis courts in Ashcombe Park. Its officers recommend councillors approve planning permission on the grounds it will not have a negative visual impact and tennis courts be reinstated in two years time if a scheme is submitted and approved by the council.

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