Anger at decision to axe Whiteley tennis courts

NOT HAPPY Tracy Waughman and people who use the Meadowside tennis courts in Whiteley. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13397-103)
NOT HAPPY Tracy Waughman and people who use the Meadowside tennis courts in Whiteley. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13397-103)
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POPULAR tennis courts in Whiteley are set to become football pitches.

A consultation asked residents if they would like to see more football and less tennis at Meadowside Leisure Centre.

And of the 3,000 surveys given out, 104 came back in favour of the proposal with 21 against. Three requested a surface which could be used by both sports.

Tracy Waughman, 33, is a tennis coach who uses the courts and is not happy with the outcome.

She said: ‘It’s gone to the extreme. Football is taking over.

‘We just want somewhere to play as well.

‘There needs to be a variety of sports, which includes tennis as well.’

Richard Pound, 42, father of two children who play at the courts, said: ‘We understand that there is a greater demand for football, but there must be a dozen football pitches within 100 yards.

‘They are being, we believe, very single minded.

‘Shouldn’t the council be offering a choice to the residents?’

Since 2010 DC Leisure has been managing the facility.

Peter Leamore, area manager for DC Leisure, said: ‘There’s just not enough people playing tennis.

‘We need about 120 people playing tennis to make it viable. There has been a full consultation of which 82 per cent are in favour of turning the court into a five-a-side pitch.

‘Football is growing in Whiteley. The Whiteley Wanderers have more than 250 members. What we are actually doing is increasing the amount of people participating in sport overall.’

The facility will cater for five-a-side football and training, with two pitches.

A planning application will now go in to the council to floodlight the pitches.