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Tennis Club’s Application for New Court Rejected

Published on: 15 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 18 Jan, 2022

Merrow Lawn Tennis Club – Photo Google Street View

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

A tennis club has had its application for a new court turned down over concerns the floodlights would spill into people’s gardens.

Merrow Lawn Tennis Club’s application for a new asphalt court on the site of an old grass court was heard last night (Wednesday 12 January) by Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee.

The application included six floodlights, each six-metres high. An officer’s report raised concerns about the light glowing over the garden of a house neighbouring the club.

Images of the rejected new asphalt court, shown in blue, at the Merrow club taken from planning documents

Officers recommended rejecting the application, with 11 councillors voting for the rejection, and two abstaining.

The meeting heard from the resident of the house immediately next to the tennis club, and from another member of the public speaking against the application because of its situation in an Area of Great Landscape Value.

Map showing the location of the tennis club in Merrow – Google maps

David Clegg, a member of the public who spoke in favour of the application, said that the “flat and featureless” ground was unseen from the wider area and did not contribute to the Area of Great Landscape Value.

He also added that because the land used to be a grass court, it still could be used as such.

He said: “The club could legitimately carry out any number of activities on this land without the need for planning permission.

“Indeed, they could cut the grass, put up a net and a two-metre high fence and play tennis on it.”

He added: “We do not consider the noise of people playing tennis from within an established tennis club to be of such a significant harm that it should overrule the general presumption in favour of development and the national and local plan policies that encourage the intensification of outdoor recreational facilities.”

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham) abstained on the vote because he agreed that as far as he could see, another court could be put on the site as things stood. He agreed with officers on the issues surrounding lighting.

The chairman of Merrow Lawn Tennis Club, Adrian Rees, said the club was not a commercial one, but an association of 300 adult members and 200 juniors, aiming to encourage young people to lead healthy lives through playing tennis.

He said: “There are no road safety or traffic issues since we will not be growing our membership we simply want to avoid having to curtail our junior coaching programme to meet the demand for use of courts by adult members.”

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