PLANS to put tennis courts on a section of Chester’s green belt have been thrown out by the council’s planning committee.
Residents in Mickle Trafford mounted a campaign against Hoole Tennis Club’s plans to put ten tennis courts on a green belt site – which has been earmarked for recreational use – off School Lane, Mickle Trafford.
Officers had recommended the plans for 10 tennis courts, 68 car parking spaces, floodlighting, a clubhouse and a bowling green at the site for approval.
They said it met the special circumstances for building on the green belt as the land was already earmarked for sports use and this use would keep the site open and green.
But residents objected to the plans, saying the site would not be open as there would be fencing for playing tennis, there would be an increase in congestion on a narrow lane and there was no local need for the courts.
Phillip Blackman, of Mickle Trafford Parish Council, told councillors: “There’s no need for this in the area. This club simply wants to expand.
“The facilities we want on the site are for multi-sports use and local young people have asked for BMX facilities – not tennis courts.”
Ward councillor Cllr Stuart Parker, who is also the council’s portfolio holder for sport and recreation, also argued the site was unsuitable.
He said: “This site is not suitable for a commercial tennis club.
“Mickle Trafford has narrow lanes and School Lane is already overcongested.
“The very special circumstances for this have not been met especially as there is no local need for this establishment.”
Cllr Parker also said the levels of noise at “all times of the day” would disrupt residents and stop them from going into their back gardens.
Speaking in favour of the application, Jane Taylor, a retired planning consultant and member of the club, said a detailed search of Chester had been undertaken and the site met the club’s criteria.
She said: “This proposal is a real opportunity to provide new facilities and will help the club continue its remarkable success.”
Mrs Taylor said the tennis club had shown there was need for this in the local area and proven the need to build on the green belt.
But councillors rejected the application because they believed the tennis club hadn’t shown the very special circumstances to build on the green belt and did not show there was a local need for tennis facilities.