Campaigners call for tennis court build to stop

Heigham Park campaigners call for grass court rethink

Heigham Park campaigners call for grass court consultation - Credit: George Thompson

Campaigners are calling for the construction of a hard tennis court to be stopped so a proper consultation can be held.

Heigham Park consultation campaigners met on Tuesday evening after council workers chopping down a century-old yew tree to make way for floodlit tennis courts

“We are not asking for anything expensive,” said Nelson Ward Green councillor Lucy Galvin. 

“We just want a consultation before a quarter of a million pounds is spent and for the council to consult on future similar schemes.” 

The park had been used as a grass tennis court until 2017 - the last public grass courts in Norwich, campaigners said.

Dog on the former grass courts which have become a meadow

The former grass courts have become a meadow - Credit: George Thompson

Campaigner James Packham said the group had no agenda on what the space should be used for, only that the public should be asked. 

“It’s ridiculous, we are not saying we’re right they’re wrong, we just want to get all the views of the community," he said.

“How can we contemplate spending all that money on public space and not speaking to the people about what they want?” 

The hole in the hedgerow where the century-old yew tree had been

The hole in the hedgerow where the century-old yew tree had been - Credit: George Thompson

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Peter Cutting, former chairman of the park’s grass tennis group, said they had put forward a suggestion that would have seen the site continued to be used for lawn tennis.

He said: “We put a detailed business plan together to keep some grass courts open on this site, with the rest of the area available for other public use. We got no reaction from the council.” 

Richard Foxton, a fellow grass court member, added the community had different ideas about what the space could be used for but what united them was a desire for consultation and an “antipathy for concreting it over”. 

A Norwich City Council spokesperson has previously said they carried out all statutory work associated with the scheme throughout, including a “rigorous planning process”. 

They said: “Our commitment to deliver this project and high quality, value for money, year-round tennis provision for all our residents throughout the city has not changed and we’ll continue to engage with users of the park and courts.”