'It looks like a supermarket car park': Fury over floodlit city park

Denise Carlo said the floodlights make the park look like a supermarket car park

Denise Carlo said the floodlights make the park look like a supermarket car park - Credit: Archant/ Denise Carlo

Opposition councillors are claiming hard all-weather tennis courts installed at a "much-loved historic park" have ruined the scenery - making it look like a supermarket car park.

Work began on the new hard courts at Heigham Park in September, much to the disappointment of homeowners and Green Party councillors who have campaigned tirelessly against the project.

Heigham Park

Before and after. Work has started to put in new tennis courts at Heigham Park. - Credit: George Thompson/James Packham

The council has said the courts provide vital, affordable health amenities for local people.

But according to Green councillor Denise Carlo, the recent installation of floodlights as part of the upgrade is the final nail in the coffin.

She said the council's plans to install wrought iron sunflower gates at the entrance to the courts, to screen the tarmac from the avenue, will distort the design of the park — while the floodlights will protrude above the hedges, and spoil what is "a rare dark corner" in the city.

"The hard all-weather courts and floodlights have ruined the central design feature of the nationally recognised historic park and made the former courts look like a supermarket car park", she said.

The new floodlights at Heigham Park tennis courts

The new floodlights at Heigham Park tennis courts - Credit: Denise Carlo

"The important view of the thatched pavilion and its green setting from the central avenue has been wrecked by the dominating effect of 12 tall alien floodlights, wire mesh fencing and tarmac.

"Heigham Park has been permanently disfigured by the council's blind pursuit of all-weather courts in this location."

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Councillor Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said the project has always been about improving facilities for locals.

"The importance of delivering this sporting facility can't be underestimated in terms of associated health benefits, as well as reducing anti-social behaviour and vandalism through increased use of the park", she said.

"Stakeholders such as the Gardens Trust and Lawn Tennis Association have been consulted about this project, and it has been supported by the heritage, equality and ecological impact assessments we carried out to inform our proposals.

"The three new modern courts, due to be completed next month, will provide an accessible and affordable space for all residents 52 weeks a year."

Local people are protesting against the councils decision to install tarmaced tennis courts in Heigh

Campaigners say they have been trying to make the council "stop and think" about the damage the courts could cause for four years - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Local people are protesting against the councils decision to install tarmaced tennis courts in Heigh

Campaigners say they have been trying to make the council "stop and think" about the damage the courts could cause for four years - Credit: Sonya Duncan

But neighbour James Packham, who leads the Heigham Park Consultation campaign group, agreed with Ms Carlo: "The scheme has ridden rough-shod over the design and heritage of Heigham Park.

"We now have something that looks like a floodlit car park, exactly what people were afraid of."

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