Anyone for tennis ? Not if the Planning Department has anything to do with it

At the meeting of Plans Panel West that took place on the 12th August 2010, planning officer Paul Gough told elected members that the Leeds Girls High tennis courts are not needed as there’s no demand for additional tennis courts in the area. He based his claim partly on the fact that six tennis courts on Woodhouse Moor were recently converted to a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) through ‘lack of use’.

The reality is that the six tennis courts were poorly used because they were in a very bad state of repair as a result of many years of neglect. The above photograph shows the state they were in at March 2008.

When local people found out about the proposal to convert the courts to a MUGA, they expressed their opposition to councillors at a meeting of INWAC that took place on the 13th December 2007. In response, the councillors passed the following resolution :

That in respect of the multi use games area proposed close to Hyde Park Corner, North West Area Management be requested to seek clarification on the proposals, and to ensure that public consultation was carried out on any such proposal

Following the meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Penny Ewens was in touch with senior planning officer Paul Gough by telephone. Here’s an extract from an email he sent her immediately afterwards :

Further to our telephone conversation, I thought I would drop you a line to let you know my thoughts on the suggestion that the proposed MUGA should be subject to further public consultation. Basically my view is that further consultation is unnecessary and would delay what is a very worthwhile project on a site which is in need of upgrading….I think that if we start a debate on the principle of the development it could seriously embarrass the Council, mislead the local community and get us into a legal minefield. If we do not carry out this project, all it would take is one person to make a legal challenge and we would be in trouble….There is no need to prevaricate over this and, in my view, we should proceed to the implementation stage.

I hope this is helpful advice.

It really is rich for Mr Gough to use the conversion of tennis courts on Woodhouse Moor to a MUGA as justification for his claim that there’s no demand for tennis courts in our area, when he himself was instrumental in bringing about the said conversion against the wishes of local people.


INWAC minutes 13.12.07
Paul Gough’s email 29.2.08

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