Tennis club plans expansion at Portishead Lake Grounds

PUBLISHED: 06:22 11 May 2018

Tennis courts at Portishead Lake Grounds.

Tennis courts at Portishead Lake Grounds.

Archant

Portishead Tennis Club wants to expand and build two more courts at the Lake Grounds.

Planning permission is being sought to increase the number of courts to five by taking over the former putting green.

Chairman Lee Fedder said: “We are a growing club and it’s great so many local people want to play. To give everyone the opportunity to get out on the courts we would like to build two additional courts and we are in early discussions with North Somerset Council as to how best we can achieve this.”

While the idea of improving sporting facilities in the town have been welcomed by some, fears over double-standards have also been raised.

Building on the Lake Grounds requires the permission of North Somerset as it owns the land and comparisons have been drawn to the saga of building a skatepark.

Tennis courts at Portishead Lake Grounds.Tennis courts at Portishead Lake Grounds.

Campaigners won planning permission in 2011 to build one at the Lake Grounds but the council refused to grant landlord’s permission for it to be built.

Last year, the Times uncovered a private note sent by Cllr Peter Bryant who explained why North Somerset would still not entertain the idea of a skatepark at the Lake Grounds, including on the former putting green.

In his letter to Portishead Town Council, he said the Lake Grounds is a ‘delightful, serene, peaceful and genteel location, giving an overall ambience that expounds the feeling of old England’, before adding a skatepark would be ‘in complete contrast’ to such an image.

He has also described the Lake Grounds as North Somerset’s ‘jewel in the crown’.

In March, Portishead Wheels and Skatepark Group said it has discounted the site as an option amid construction concerns.

But Cllr Jean Lord at the town council’s meeting on May 2 raised ‘concern’ over fairness, saying: “The Lake Grounds is an area for the people of Portishead.

“There’s been various schemes planned for the area but we weren’t consulted (on the tennis courts) until it comes to a planning application. I think North Somerset Council, or the club, or both, could have had the courtesy of informing us.

“It (the idea of building on the Lake Grounds) has been met with gasps of horror when the skatepark group has enquiried in the past. I just think the two are being treated differently.’

Town council vice-chairman Peter Mitchell said he supports plans to increase sports options.

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