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Temple Fortune residents angry at tennis court plans: ‘We’ve been done up like a kipper’

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 07 November 2018

Neighbours demonstrate outside of the old Templars Tennis Club in Temple Fortune. Picture: Rohit Grover

Neighbours demonstrate outside of the old Templars Tennis Club in Temple Fortune. Picture: Rohit Grover

Archant

Neighbours are up in arms over plans to build over tennis courts that have stood in Temple Fortune for generations.

Neighbours are up in arms over plans to build over tennis courts that have stood in Temple Fortune for generations.

Templars Tennis Club – a private members club – closed in April and the membership sold the land to developers, saying numbers were dwindling.

The developers are set to find out if they will get planning permission on Tuesday at a meeting of the Finchley and Golders Green area planning committee.

Barnet councillor Rohit Grover lives opposite the proposed development and objects to the plans, which he thinks will harm the street scene, cause parking problems, and see the area lose vital amenities.

Cllr Grover said: “People are upset and they’re angry for many reasons.

“The plans are hugely out of character for the area.”

And he said more could have been done to keep the club thriving: “Membership information was hard to find and the number outside had been long disconnected.”

Neighbours feel there is no lack of demand for the tennis club, something cited when an application to make it an Asset of Community Value was rejected in 2016.

Rebecca Boye, who has lived next to the club for 30 years and used the facilities, said: “Building on this space will remove a known landmark, its residential tranquility and it will also rid the area of a vital, green lung forever.”

Another neighbour, Pam Green, told the Ham&High: “I just think it’s a really cynical way of getting hold of land. Residents are upset, I’m upset, we really feel the community has been done up like a kipper and given no protection.”

A spokesperson for the developers – London NW Properties Ltd and Templars Properties – said the proposal, which also features a payment for tennis courts a mile away, was a “win-win for the local community”.

They added: “We acknowledge that some of the local residents would prefer the site to be left untouched and continue to be poorly used by a few.

“But the reality is that the tennis club was not well supported by the local community and its members voted democratically to dispose of it.”

A solicitor who previously acted on behalf of the tennis club’s executive told this newspaper there had never been any restriction placed on membership of the tennis club other than the “playing-in test” which exists to guarantee an appropriate standard of play.

He clarified the membership of the limited company which owned the land was closed prior to the sale to prevent new joiners seeking to gain a share of any proceeds, but the tennis club itself continued to accept members.

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