PLANS to transform derelict land near Canoe Lake in Southsea have been given the go-ahead.
Portsmouth City Council has paved the way for a community organisation to turn a run-down bowling pavilion south of Eastern Parade into a cafe.
The pavilion’s bowling green will also be transformed into four artificial grass tennis courts.
Canoe Lake Leisure, which has secured a lease on the land, now hopes to start work within the next month.
The group has also acquired another 12 grass tennis courts nearby which it hopes to bring up to competition standard.
John Cooke, CEO of Canoe Lake Leisure, said: ‘We’re really pleased. This is a philanthropic project.
‘We are running the courts at all our own costs.
‘We are taking a derelict bowls club, which has attracted high levels of vandalism and anti-social behaviour, and turning it into a high-end cafe.’
Conservative ward Councillor Luke Stubbs spoke in support of the plans at yesterday’s planning committee meeting before they were approved.
He said: ‘This building as it stands is rather tired.
‘The site has suffered from vandalism as of late and it would be great to get it back into a state where people are using it.’
Meanwhile, a proposal to transform a bowling pavilion and green north of the new cafe site into a children’s nursery were thrown out.
Councillors felt it would have created too much noise and resulted in a loss of open space.
Thirty-seven letters of objection were also sent in by residents.
Resident Dave Williams told the committee said there were enough ‘child-centric facilities’ in the area and a nursery would create an imbalance in what was being offered there.
‘No-one living in the area wants this nursery,’ he said.
‘This application should be seen as a last resort.’
But Lib Dem Cllr Les Stevens blasted opposers, saying he lived next to a nursery and doesn’t have any disturbance.
The loss of space would have been a 20 sq m plot where an extension to the pavilion would have gone.
It was revealed the nursery would have helped meet a shortage in nursery places in the city and that the Eastney and Craneswater ward – where the nursery would have been – has a particular problem.