Globe Tennis Club celebrating after Camden Council grants crucial 15-year lease to secure its future
PUBLISHED: 16:30 23 January 2019
It's game, set and match for the Globe Tennis Club in Belsize Park, after it won its battle to secure a lease for the future of the club.
The agreement between Camden Council and the club in Haverstock Hill ends an 18-month disagreement between the two sides that threatened the club’s existence.
“We’re elated,” said president Anna Lee. “We can begin to look at refurbishing four of our six courts. Middlesex Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will help us fund the project. We’re going to have a big party to celebrate after our AGM later this year.”
The stalemate between the two sides appears to have been broken after the tennis club was awarded asset of community value (ACV) status in May last year.
“Since then the negotiations have been far more friendly,” said Anna. “I think they viewed us tennis players as people who had quite a lot of money, which isn’t true at all with the work we do to encourage new players of all ages, with schools, and with people who are partially sighted.”
The row initially broke out when Camden Council refused to give the Globe a 15-year lease, as it had requested, instead offering it a 15-year deal with a break clause after seven years.
This meant the club wouldn’t have been able to get money from the LTA, as the governing body insists on clubs having a guaranteed long-term lease before funding is granted.
This was disputed by former councillor Phil Jones at a council meeting in September last year – despite LTA president Martin Corrie spelling it out in a letter to the borough.
A petition was presented to the council with 2,000 signatures on.
There had been concern that Camden was eying up the land to potentially build houses on. It had refused to release a feasibility study into the site, after a Freedom of Information request by the club and its committee.
As part of the deal, the proposed rent hike has been dropped from £49,000-a-year to £32,500. Under the previous agreement, it paid a peppercorn rent.
Anna said: “There’s a big sense of relief. The club has been doing really well, and this is great news. We’re going to rewrite our constitution and once that’s been done we’ll be celebrating.” Councillor Danny Beales, cabinet member for investing in communities at Camden Council, said: “We’re committed to promoting sport and exercise in Camden and will always attempt to agree a mutually beneficial arrangement with our clubs.
“We have now granted a new lease to the Globe Lawn Tennis Club with no break option. The completion of the lease followed a long period of discussion during which it was clarified that a lease of anything less than 15 years would mean that the club would be unable to obtain essential grants from organisations, including the LTA, to enable them to improve the facilities and develop and enhance their services to the local community.
“We have also agreed an enhanced approach to community engagement and involvement and wish the club well in continuing their important work.”