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Reader Letter: The council have already made their mind up about the future of Heigham Park's grass tennis courts

PUBLISHED: 10:19 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:29 25 April 2017

The thatched pavillion at the Heigham Park grass tennis courts which the city council are proposing to turn into all weather courts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The thatched pavillion at the Heigham Park grass tennis courts which the city council are proposing to turn into all weather courts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

I recently attended a meeting, along with about 50 local park users and tennis players at which Roger Ryan, the city council cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, answered questions about the city council’s application to its own planning committee to reduce Heigham Park’s current 10 grass tennis courts to three and to turn these into all-weather, flood-lit hard courts.

The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was of opposition to the proposed scheme and a desire that alternative ways be explored to manage the maintenance of the grass courts in view of the government’s swingeing cuts to local authority funding.

MORE: Public invited to quiz councillor over proposed changes to Norwich’s Heigham Park tennis courts
However, the distinct impression was given, by the tenor of the councillor’s responses to all concerns and suggestions, that the decision had already been taken to go ahead with the unwanted scheme.

This impression is reinforced by the fact that the meeting only happened on the initiative of the Friends of Heigham Park, not at the instigation of the city council, so hardly counts as public consultation.

MORE: ‘Haven of peace, charm and beauty’ at risk from tennis courts plan for Heigham Park
This scenario reflects very poorly on the state of local democracy under our present council.

The planning application has received 55 wide-ranging objections, many very detailed, and only two brief submissions in support.

MORE: Is this game, set and match for Norwich’s final park grass tennis courts?
The decision of the planning committee when it is made will tell us how representative of local wishes the city’s planning process really is.

Teresa Belton, Jessopp Road, Norwich

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