Templars Tennis Club: Planning inspector blocks appeal to build eight homes on tennis courts

A CGI artist's impression of the plans for Templars Tennis Club. Picture: MRPP

A CGI artist's impression of the plans for Templars Tennis Club. Picture: MRPP - Credit: Archant

The Planning Inspectorate has blocked an appeal from developers hoping to build homes on a Temple Fortune tennis club.

Neighbours of the Templars club in St Andrew's Road were pleased to see planning bosses back up a council decision to reject the plans last November.

The tennis club's membership sold the club in April 2018 citing "a lack of support in the local community", and developers London NW Properties and Templars Properties were hoping to build eight houses on the now-closed courts.

But in rejecting their appeal, planning inspector Paul Cooper said the design would have been "incongruous" in the local area and ran counter to local planning guidance.

Referencing a dispute over how the tennis club was shuttered, Mr Cooper added: "I am not convinced that sufficient work has taken place in order to publicise the club as a positive facility for the community."

The developers argued that the club's declining membership was evidence of a lack of community interest in using the tennis courts.

But a council assessment of the demand for sports facilities has identified high demand for tennis courts in the area, and locals have complained there was "limited advertisement" of the club before it was shut.

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Former members of the club's managing board have previously told this newspaper that "there was no other agenda" and called suggestions to the contrary "contemptuous".

Barnet councillor Rohit Grover (Con, Garden Suburb) lives nearby and has been part of the community group hoping to save the courts. He told the Ham&High: "Naturally I'm pleased with the planning inspector's decision. As I've said many times we need to get to a place where the developers engage with the community so that they can put forward proposals that are actually supported by the people who live here. As far as I'm aware no such attempt has been made and that is very disappointing. Sadly I'm not optimistic."

Pam Green, who has also been campaigning to safeguard the tennis courts, said the residents' committee that had opposed the plans "would be meeting again soon" to determine how to proceed.

A representative of the developers has yet to respond.