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Residents object to Faringdon Tennis Club plans
FARINGDON Tennis Club is facing a battle in its bid to move to plush new premises.
The club has been trying to sell its cramped courts for the last 15 years and has finally found a site where it can build a new home.
But before it can move it must get planning permission to build houses on its courts in Southampton Street.
However, residents are opposed.
The club wants to build a state-of-the-art, carbon negative club house at Faringdon’s Folly Park.
The courts would have Lawn Tennis Association-standard LED flood lighting and the club house would have an air-source heat pump and solar panels.
But in order to get the £400,000 needed to built it, the club must first sell its current courts. And in order to sell the courts to Witney housing developer Builders Ede, the club needs to get planning permission for 11 houses on the site.
Club chairman Sjoerd Vogt, 55, said: “It is very difficult to find a suitable new location.
“An awful lot of people who own suitable land know that if they sit on it, they can potentially get a lot more money.”
In the last 15 years the club has identified 12 suitable sites, and actually started discussions on five.
But each time, negotiations collapsed.
Mr Vogt said they had the club valued five years ago at £600,000 but last year the value had diminished to £400,000.
The club’s current home is just big enough for three under-sized courts and a club house.
It has no parking space, and being in the middle of a housing estate means the club would never get permission for floodlighting.
Mr Vogt said: “Our job is to offer quality tennis to all ages and abilities and we owe it to the town to develop tennis in youngsters and that is impossible where we are now.”
The club currently has 130 members consisting of 70 adults, 20 teenagers, and 40 under-16s.
The club got planning permission to build its new home last June, and now it just needs the money to go ahead.
Residents have submitted their objections on the Vale district council’s website.
Grant Womack, of Liddiards Row, posted: “A development of this size in this location is not required in Faringdon, and a blight on the town.”
Austen Roberts, of Cadels Row, objected on the grounds that “crime will increase with more people”.
Mr Vogt said he was hopeful that the application would still go through.
“None of the residents have objected on planning grounds,” he said.
“The new club will be absolutely fantastic.”
The consultation period with residents ends on February 14 and planning officers are due to make a decision on April 10.