Sunday, 19 September 2021

Neighbours can't stop club moving its tennis courts

FOUR tennis courts at Phyllis Court Club in Henley are to be moved despite opposition by neighbouring residents.

The private members’ club has been granted planning permission to relocate the courts in order to make way for a new sports and fitness facility.

The new courts will back on to Thames House and Conaught House, two blocks of flats off Phyllis Court Drive, whose residents opposed the application.

Club chairman Patricia Christmas said: “We are going to build the new courts on the old shale tennis courts which were used when we used to have famous tennis players play on them.

“It is going to be a lot better because before this was wasted land and it gives us more wiggle room for the new building.

“The new courts will be beautiful and we know our tennis section is going to love them. We hope it will help attract new members.”

She said the club was now preparing an application for the new sports and fitness centre with a swimming pool, gym, exercise studio, treatment rooms and changing rooms.

Members voted in favour of the development in May last year.

The application to move the courts received 20 objections with concerns about increased noise and light pollution as well as the loss of trees. Joy Homer, of Phyllis Court Drive, said: “My amenity will be further damaged by increased noise, shouting and light disturbance from users of the four new courts.

“There is no mention in the revised application about re-siting of floodlights. Please reject this application.

“At a recent meeting with the club, we pointed out that their land on the far (eastern) side of the car park would disturb no one if the courts were sited there.

“Their response was that they made a lot of money renting out plots there for picnics during regatta week.

“Surely it would be possible to put down a covering and still do so? Why should we suffer for 52 weeks a year just for this one regatta week?”

Planning consultant Neil Boddington formally objected on behalf of the Marlow Road Management Company, which represents some of the residents of Phyllis Court Drive.

He said the new courts would be within 10m of the back of Connaught House and Thames House.

“Such a location would cause increased loss of amenity to the generally elderly occupiers of the 12 flats over the three-floor building by reason of additional noise, light and general disturbance, especially at times of the day when residents would reasonably expect a more peaceful environment.

“The sycamore tree in the south-east of the site is proposed for removal and, as a mature tree, would remove important visual screening from the proposed health club.”

Even members of the club’s tennis section objected.

John Steed, of Ravenscroft Road, Henley, called the new location “terrible”.

He said: “When our new courts are finally laid, and goodness knows when that will be, we will be right next to the main Marlow road, suffering all the noise and pollution that emanates from it.

“Our club is a splendid organisation and its position adjacent to the river is quite unique — we must all support developments which ensure its future but not at this cost.”

Jill Adams, of Wharfe Lane, Henley, agreed, saying: “Totally against this planning application — should be able to provide a fitness centre without all the disruption of moving four perfectly good tennis courts.”

A total of 1,118 club members out of the 1,746 who voted supported the new single-storey fitness centre.

In 2014 planning permission was given for a two-storey sports complex but the £4 million project was shelved as the club decided it was not viable.

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