Published: 13:29, 21 May 2020
| Updated: 13:32, 21 May 2020
A sports and social club wants to swap its unused tennis courts for housing.
Woodcombe Sports and Social Club is hoping to sell off its two derelict hard-standing courts so a developer can build eight homes next to its clubhouse in Church Road, Murston, near Sittingbourne.
But there is no love for the scheme from neighbours. Swale council has received five letters of objection and a petition of 140 signatures.
Marie Rutherford, 73, says she is worried about the increased traffic and said: "There’s going to be damage to my house. It is going to be horrendous for all of us.”
Charlotte Villanueva and Ricky Nash warned: “The area from ours to the tennis courts is brimming with wildlife such as foxes, slow worms and dragonflies. What will happen to them?"
Terry Whitehead added: “The removal of the tennis courts would be a loss for the area. Their use could be promoted rather than removed.”
The club's chairman Richard Bond said selling the land would help secure its future. He said: “The club needs more finance. It was a hard decision which wasn’t taken lightly.
“The club has been going so long and we want it to keep going so things have to change. This was one option we came up with and it might not even happen.”
The club was founded in 1964 and has 1,500 members. It has football and cricket pitches. The tennis courts have not been used since 2017.
The scheme for seven three-bedroom houses and one four-bedroom house has been put forward by Gary Hirons of Wildwood Limited.
It is recommended for approval by officers who say in their report: "The loss of a minor sports provision, in a sustainable town centre location where alternative sports facilities of this type are widely available is considered to be outweighed by the wider benefits presented, and more specifically, the provision of housing supply given that the council is currently unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing."
It has been 'called in' by Murston councillor James Hall and will be discussed by members of the planning committee on Thursday (May 28) at 7pm. The agenda is here.
To view the plans go to tinyurl.com/planningKM and search for reference 19/503530/FULL.
More by this authorJohn Nurden