New tennis courts and cafe in store for Southsea seafront sites

REVAMP From left, Betty Corbett, 58, Molly Ball, 56, and John Cooke, 43, intend to renovate the bowling club building at Canoe Lake and open a new cafe. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14712-4926)
REVAMP From left, Betty Corbett, 58, Molly Ball, 56, and John Cooke, 43, intend to renovate the bowling club building at Canoe Lake and open a new cafe. Picture: Malcolm Wells (14712-4926)
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A COMPANY has unveiled its plans to lease disused plots of land around a popular lake and open a cafe.

Newly-formed Canoe Lake Leisure wants to lease land around Canoe Lake in Southsea off Portsmouth City Council and put it to better use.

The private company, run by people who live and work locally, wants to turn the southern half of a bowling club into a cafe, and build two new artificial grass tennis courts nearby.

It also wants to acquire 12 extra grass tennis courts and get them up to competition standards.

John Cooke, chief executive of Canoe Lake Leisure, said he hopes the terms of the lease agreement can be sorted in the next week.

‘This is a really amazing project and we are looking forward to doing it,’ he said.

‘This is a philanthropic gesture.

‘We are self-funded so we can step in and take care of all the maintainance.

‘It’s about giving something back to the community and putting something in place that future generations can use.

‘If we hold tennis then the profile of Canoe Lake will go up. We are a community company, and we have community objectives.’

Planning applications need to be submitted for the cafe and new courts.

If a deal is agreed, Canoe Lake Leisure would let Southsea Greenhouse use some of the land to create a herb garden and orchard.

Dysart Nursery, in Dysart Avenue, Cosham, wants to turn a men’s bowls pavilion into a children’s nursery.

It comes after the council asked businesses last year if they would be interested in redeveloping sites around Canoe Lake, in line with its seafront master plan.

Councillor Lee Hunt, the cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: ‘We’re delighted local businesses came forward with their ideas to transform Canoe Lake.

‘It’s a mixed offer of both recreation and catering, which there has been a lack of in the seafront area.

‘This is part of the city’s ongoing seafront strategy to deliver more and better facilities and services that residents tell us they want at less cost.

‘These new facilities will save council taxpayers around £600,000 over 10 years.’