Norwich park tennis court campaigners told 'no further consultation'

Campaigners in a park

Campaigners are trying to stop hard tennis courts being built in Heigham Park. - Credit: Lucy Galvin

Families battling to stop grass tennis courts in a Norwich park from being replaced with hard courts have been told there will be no further consultation.

Norwich City Council has begun in Heigham Park to install three all weather tennis courts, replacing 10 grass courts.

Heigham Park, Norwich. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Heigham Park in Norwich. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The council's own planning committee approved the changes in 2018, despite almost 120 objections.

Earlier this month, campaigners held a meeting at the park, off Jessopp Road, and wrote to Norwich City Council urging the authority to think again.

People who live nearby gathered at a meeting of Norwich City Council's full council meeting at St Andrew's Hall on Tuesday night to ask public questions about the development.

Campaigner James Packham said there had not been pre-application consultation with people in the area.

He said: "Once the council’s plan had been submitted and then re-submitted, the plan received 120 formal objections, mainly from local residents, as against 10 letters in favour.

The council did not take serious notice of these objections and approved its own application.

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"Local residents to Heigham Park remain very much against the council’s plan and are left with minimal faith in the planning process.

"Will the council now consider carrying out a proper and fair consultation that seeks to understand and leverage the views and wishes of local residents?"

But Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said the proper procedures had been followed throughout the process.

He said: "The project is now at an advanced stage and, having started, there is no requirement for any further consultation as part of the planning process."

Mr Stonard added that consultation was not the same as a referendum.

Campaigner Anthony Mullan asked how it made sense to spend so much to provide three hard tennis courts instead of 10 grass ones 

Norwich city councillor Matthew Packer. Pic: Labour Party.

Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing. - Credit: Labour Party

Matthew Packer, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said it would provide more affordable opportunities for people to play tennis.

He said the grass courts could only be used for a number of months a year, while the new courts would be available all year round.