Calls made for new tennis court by community centre

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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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RESIDENTS who have lost out on a new games area are supporting calls for a new tennis court nearby instead.

As reported, plans for a new games area at Portchester Community Centre were rejected by councillors following objections from neighbours.

Fareham Borough Council received 131 responses to a public consultation – 82 in favour, 46 against and three did not answer the question.

However, councillors sided with people living close to the site who were worried about an increase in anti-social behaviour.

Stella Bell, of Cornaway Lane in Portchester had been supporting the games area. But she is now backing calls from a local councillor for a single tennis court, open to all.

She said: ‘There is plenty of green space by the new Portchester Community Centre on the site of the old community centre which will be far enough away from residents.’

n A story in yesterday’s News on the games area showed the wrong potential site, the picture above is the correct area.

Although there were more responses in favour, the majority of comments from nearby residents were against the games area, which would have been built on the site of the old community centre.

Residents were concerned the games area could lead to a return of the anti-social behaviour seen on former tennis courts demolished at the end of last year.

Portchester Community Centre said that it was not prepared to manage the area as it did not have enough staff.

Residents of Clive Grove, with houses that back on to the area, voiced strong opposition.

One said: ‘This is the worst idea I have ever heard. Please do not build this. Please landscape the land and give us some peace.’

Another said: ‘I am very fearful that if this games centre is built it will bring back the vile language and youths drinking in the area. I will not go near the park if this is built and I shouldn’t have to feel like this in my own community.’

Police also objected, with a statement saying: ‘The previous site was in the wrong place. The area attracted youths who played football on the courts, were often heard shouting and swearing and caused endless calls to the police in relation to anti-social behaviour. Since the courts have been demolished and the old site cleared, we have enjoyed a period of peace and a distinct lack of calls from residents.’

Ward councillor Roger Price was on the leisure panel which rejected the scheme. He said: ‘The residents are experiencing some much-needed respite. I just hope this continues when we remove the temporary fencing put up to let the grass seed take.’

Plans to extend the car park are continuing.