A PLAN to build houses on tennis courts at a south Glasgow bowling club has been approved — on condition £150,000 is given to boost the sport elsewhere in the city.
Councillors gave the go-ahead to IAM Developments for six semi-detached properties, each with three bedrooms, at Hillpark Bowling Club. The properties will be on three tennis courts between Rostan Road and Tinto Road.
As a condition of planning permission, the club will have to give £150,000 from the proceeds towards improvements to tennis facilities to compensate for the loss of the courts.
A report to councillors included comments from Glasgow Life regarding the compensation arrangement, stating: “Clearly the ideal scenario will be to enhance tennis capacity within the south sector of the city and there are a number of publicly-owned venues that will clearly form part of our deliberations.
“This includes the existing artificial grass court facility at Queens Park -– home to Queens Park Community Tennis Club — and the existing poor quality courts at Newlands Park which have proved popular as a free play facility throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It should also be noted however that the joint stakeholders will take into consideration a city-wide review of facility needs in case the urgent need for additional tennis provision in areas of acute deficiency may require the diversion of a proportion of compensation funds in support of new or upgraded provision elsewhere.”
Planning officials had recommended approval for the application, stating: “The proposal seeks to sell off, and permit the development of, the now unused tennis courts in order to secure the long-term financial future of the club.
“Sport Scotland have raised no objection to the loss of the tennis courts subject to the securing of a financial contribution in order to upgrade capacity for tennis in the area.”
The club originally had six tennis courts but demand fell and three were previously sold for residential development, in 2005. The money raised was invested in the remaining courts.
A statement submitted by Bennett Developments and Consulting on behalf of the club explained: “Since the [earlier] deal with the house-builders, the club has sought to promote their facilities and to secure membership with little success, such that, at this time, the club only has funds to meet ongoing costs with nothing in reserve for repairs, maintenance or emergencies.
“Membership is still poor with few if any playing members. In reality the club now operates more as a social and community club for the local area, and in that role it is particularly successful and very popular, to the extent that it is now recognised as a valuable community resource.
“Tennis courts are languishing in a state of disrepair with no likelihood of them ever being reinstated. The club has no funds to instigate a programme of repair and, in any event, there is no membership demand for the courts.
“An injection of fresh capital will ensure the longevity of the club and its continued operation as a much-needed and loved community facility.”