Published: 15:58, 24 August 2019
| Updated: 16:38, 24 August 2019
People took to the streets to protest against a developer who wants to build homes on former tennis courts.
Proposals for eight four-bedroom houses at the old Avenue Tennis Club, Glebe Road, Gillingham, were dismissed by councillors in February.
Around 30 people marched down nearby Second Avenue to the courts to protest landowner Colin Jarvis’s decision to appeal the council’s decision.
The plans were previously recommended for approval and a petition against received more than 100 signatures.
However, they were dismissed at a council meeting after concerns about traffic.
There have been a number of collisions and near misses in the surrounding roads, which has lead them to nicknaming it “death trap road”.
Oliver Fish, leader of the local residents’ committee, helped organise the protest.
He said: “The community is standing in solidarity in the face of tyranny. We are standing in unity against the greedy developers who wish to destroy our livelihoods to maximise their profits.
“The community has provided the planning commission with over 100 signatures appealing against the proposed development plans. Our councillors have unanimously rejected the planning application by reason of loss of privacy, design, scale and restricted access to name but a few. However, even though the above concerns have been raised, Colin Jarvis has appealed.
“It is worrying that a bureaucrat in Westminster can override the unanimous decision made by the council.
“There has been no dialogue, no communication, no negotiation and no compromise, which is why the community have taken to the streets so our voices can be heard.
“We are particularly upset plans include three-storey townhouses that directly overlook the residents of Glebe Road.
“We ask people ‘would you like this at the end of your garden, overlooking your property?’
Those behind the application are confident their plan will be passed.
Glen Jarvis is managing director of Avenue Tennis and chairman Colin Jarvis’s son.
Avenue Tennis in Featherby Road, Gillingham, opened in March 2017 and has 17 multi-surface courts.
It is the only tennis facility in Medway to offer both indoor and outdoor tennis on multiple surfaces. It has a gym, health suite, badminton courts, fitness class studios, function rooms, restaurant, and bar spread over four acres.
Glen Jarvis said: “It’s always been in our plans to redevelop the tennis centre and the land there since the construction of the new centre.
“I think it’s inevitable that the application will go through and we’re just working on them with the council to redefine them so they can be approved.
“The house plans aren’t out of place, they’re small properties, not high rise blocks or anything.
“The house plans aren’t out of place, they’re small properties, not high rise blocks or anything." - Glen Jarvis of Avenue Tennis
“We’ve tried to be as sympathetic with residents as possible and made sure the houses will match in with the area.
“Whenever it comes to things like this a lot of people are anti-housing, but this has been in the works for a while now.
“It’s just about getting little things revised and approved.”
More by this authorSean McPolin