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Divisions at Cromer tennis club over council's plans to use courts for £3.3m sports hub

PUBLISHED: 17:34 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:48 03 April 2019

Plans for a new £3.3m sports hub in north Norfolk have prompted a mixed response among club members.  Photo: Archant/NNDC

Plans for a new £3.3m sports hub in north Norfolk have prompted a mixed response among club members. Photo: Archant/NNDC

Archant

Plans for a new £3.3m sports hub in Cromer have sparked concerns over the future of a tennis club in the town.

An artist's impression of the proposed sports hub in Cromer. Picture: NNDCAn artist's impression of the proposed sports hub in Cromer. Picture: NNDC

Cromer Sports Hub was approved by the district council with £3.2m of funding last year, while £672,000 of extra cash was poured in last month after an anticipated £500,000 investment fell through.

And divisions have emerged after a member of the Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association (CLTSA) raised fears for the club’s future if plans for the hub to take over two of its all-weather courts go ahead.

READ MORE: New £3.2m sports hub in Cromer given green light by district council

They claimed players had serious concerns over the proposed transfer of two of their four pitches to the sports hub.

Artist's impression of the sports hub which is due to open in summer 2019. Photo: NNDCArtist's impression of the sports hub which is due to open in summer 2019. Photo: NNDC

But the committee chairman hit back at the criticism, and insisted the scheme was a positive step.

The member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We were very shocked to learn that two of our courts were part of the plan to be given to the high school, when none of us knew anything.

“The future of the club is going to be financially difficult if we don’t have access to our courts.”

READ MORE: Council votes for £672k cash injection to keep tennis hub plans on track

Plans for a £3.2m community sports hub in Cromer have been submitted. Image: NORTH NORFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILPlans for a £3.2m community sports hub in Cromer have been submitted. Image: NORTH NORFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

They also claimed a feasibility study done on behalf of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) was based on inaccurate figures.

The study, seen by this newspaper, states: “The club have stated that there are currently 300 adult members and 125 junior members, with membership income in 2016/17 c.£29,000.”

But the member claimed the club has never had 300 members and currently has 90 adult and between 30 to 40 junior members.

Nick Amis, CLTSA chairman, however is supportive of the scheme.

Plans for a £3.2m community sports hub in Cromer have been submitted. Image: NORTH NORFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILPlans for a £3.2m community sports hub in Cromer have been submitted. Image: NORTH NORFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

He said: “The purpose of this project is to establish Cromer as a centre of tennis excellence which will have a positive influence and bring the club into the 21st century with a much more positive future with an increase in usage and membership.”

He added: “We currently have just shy of 300 members in all, including more than 100 juniors.”

A council spokesman said: “The council is aware of concerns raised by members of the club. As a result, the leader and the sport portfolio holder held an open meeting for members.

“They were able to reassure members the tennis club will still have use of the two land swapped courts for 96pc of the time they have them currently.

“Such a facility requires the exchange of land occupied by Cromer Academy, and shared use of two outdoor courts leased from the council by the CLTSA.

“The two courts in question remain available for tennis.”

READ MORE: Reader letter - ‘Sports hub plans should be reviewed’

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