Tennis Club Defends Plans

New club will be ‘great facility,’ says club

ROYSTON Tennis Club have hit back at claims from a national pressure group that plans to build new facilities on Therfield Heath will infringe on the rights of the area.

The Open Spaces Society (OSS) had said last week that they were “dismayed” and “sad that this development has been allowed,” after plans for new three new courts and three replacement courts, 18 floodlights, a log cabin and mesh fencing were approved by the planning inspectorate.

Representatives from the tennis club have moved quickly to quash accusations that the plans would have a disruptive impact. Club captain Mike Fellingham said: “I don’t know why they (The OSS) have opposed it, or why they are involved.

“It seems to me that they are trying to make their presence felt and just make a case for them being in existence.

“All they do is scan for any new projects that are being built anywhere in the country and decide to oppose it.”

The OSS had said they thought that the common will “look more like a prison” when the plans go ahead, and Mr Fellingham was surprised as to how they gained this opinion.

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“The building will take place on less than one per cent of the heath, so how can they say it’s going to look more like a prison? There are fences around the current courts anyway.”

Mr Fellingham also accused the OSS of not even visiting the site, situated on Baldock Road. He said: “I can’t believe they have actually been out to see how big the heath is.

“They seem to think it’s a little park. It’s enormous and we’re using a very small portion of it.

“We have had the plans commissioned by the planning inspectorate, DEFRA, and the local MP Oliver Heald has even written on our behalf.”

Mr Fellingham was confident that the new plans would be a “very good facility for Royston, especially the junior players in the town.”

Kate Ashbrook from The OCC confirmed that no one from their organisation had been to visit the site, but defended their organisation by saying: “We have been going for 145 years, and have a very distinguished origin.

“If it was not for us then thousands of acres of common land would have been developed on.”