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Objections to Wirral church tennis courts closure plan
CONTROVERSIAL plans to sell the site of a church tennis court in Hoylake for redevelopment have been submitted to Wirral council.
St Luke's Methodist Church wants to sell the land in Charles Road, to make way for the building of 17 houses and apartments.
The church says 'ever-increasing financial pressure' and dwindling membership of the club were behind the decision to sell.
It plans to use proceeds from the sale for community projects including a free school uniforms scheme.
The proposal will be considered by Wirral’s planning committee when it meets on October 24.
Tennis club Secretary Anne Cross said: "As a member of the club I don't want the sale to happen. It's been rumbling on for quite a while.
"But because we don't own the land, it seems there's nothing we can do to stop it being sold.
"The club has been there since 1948. It has 30 members and we are making the most of it while we can.
"There are a few local clubs that have said they would be happy to take us in."
Another campaigner, who asked not to named, told the Globe: "I find it amazing that we have our first tennis champion in 70 years, Andy Murray, and they are talking about closing tennis clubs."
The decision to sell the land was made a meeting of the church's Trustees. The proposed new development will include affordable housing.
Reverend Anthony Clowes, minister of St. Luke's, said: "At a time of ever-increasing financial pressure we can no longer justify retaining our tennis courts, which are used by a dwindling number of members, whose average age has risen appreciably over the years.
"Several years ago the club felt that it was no longer able to offer junior membership.
"However, our church Trustees are aware that this decision will disappoint the club members and has accordingly negotiated an arrangement with another local tennis club who have offered to welcome the remaining players on very favourable terms for the individuals concerned.
"Hoylake residents will be aware that there is a mix of public and private tennis facilities elsewhere in Hoylake and Meols at several different locations.
"As the club was established as a war memorial the St. Luke's Trustees are also determined that the memory of those who gave their lives in the Second World War will be honoured in a way that brings lasting benefits for a much larger number of people than the small number who currently enjoy using the tennis facilities."
Also among those objecting to the scheme is Hoylake Conservative councillor John Hale.
He said: "I think it's a small site for the number of flats they want to put on it. I also think the flats will be out of keeping with the rest of the area.
"I'm worried about the access points and the effect increased traffic will have on the area if the development is approved. I shall note this in my letter to planning department."
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