Members of Kenilworth Tennis Club have reacted with disappointment over a decision to refuse them permission to build a waterproof canopy over one of their courts.
The canopy would have allowed members to play tennis during the rain. Such improvements are currently being supported by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the UK's governing body for tennis.
But Warwick District Council’s planning committee refused permission for the club to build it at a meeting on Tuesday March 27.
Chairman of the tennis section Richard Simmons had spent a year visiting other clubs around the country to see their schemes in preparation for the club's application, and was very disappointed planning permission was refused.
He said: “I stressed (at the meeting) that the LTA had stated the need for covered courts as their top priority across the UK, hence £100,000 of funding was available to the Kenilworth Tennis Club.
“Given there are no public access covered courts in the entire town, and given the dreadful winter weather, I was flabbergasted that the committee felt we had failed to demonstrate a strong need for the canopy. Frankly it beggars belief.”
The committee was recommended to refuse the plan as the club, based off Crackley Lane, is in the Green Belt, and building the roof would be considered harmful to the area.
A report written by planning officers before the meeting stated: “It would be convenient and beneficial for the club to have a court available for use in inclement weather.
"However, the proposed structure would be significant in scale and would go some way to transforming an outdoor recreational facility into an indoor one.
“It is therefore considered that the proposal would not constitute appropriate facilities for outdoor sport and recreation and preserves the openness of the Green Belt.”
The report also said the club’s case for the benefits of having a canopy over one of its courts did not outweigh the harm caused to the Green Belt.
Councillors went with what was written in the report and voted to refuse permission.
The LTA is working with tennis clubs all over the country to build more covered courts in a bid to increase grass roots participation, especially among children.