Local Residents Not Sent Notification of Planning by Council asTrees Cut for New Tennis Centre

Local residents could not stop the cutting  that started in front of their houses on Friday 15th Feb 2013 after Council threatened them with Police arrest if they entered the area.

The larger mature Ash trees are about 100 years old and they are healthy.

The original 30 trees to be cut have been reduced to 15 for now  as only 4 initial courts are being put in due to protests. Two more will be put in later if there is demand the council said in December.

Many residents of Smalldale Avenue were alarmed in last fortnight as fences went up to start the Beacon Tennis center  that is in front of their row of  houses. Council had not consulted them with any direct notification (Read resident response below).

Tennis will be played on the new floodlit courts all week round with changing rooms and more provided for this center of tennis – one of 6 Beacon centers  for Manchester Lawn Tennis Association announced.

Lack of consultation seems to be happening all through this Alexandra Park Project

with 4000 names on the online and paper petition.

A long time park user who came to the park as a child speaks on the video.

sign petition at https://savealexandraparkstrees.wordpress.com/petition/

Local resident Carolyn Briggs said:
February 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

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6 Responses to Local Residents Not Sent Notification of Planning by Council asTrees Cut for New Tennis Centre

  1. What exactly is a “Beacon Tennis center”. I am not sure that it is at all clear what this resource is. Is it a few tennis courts that local kids can cut their teeth on, or is it indeed a club which local kids might not be able to freely access? Will there be charges etc I have posted elsewhere about acesss to the park through the space at the end of Smalldale Avenue, I have heard that this is to be gated, but want to know if it is a gate to the park still, or the entrance to some tennis club, that the public can no longer use. I have also raised the issue that we have been told that the park is to be locked and if this is the case, why would you need floodlights. In the summer it is light till late and in the winter I doubt very much that anyone other than someone that is attending a “Beacon tennis center” would be coming for a knock around. I am beginning to wonder if indeed this is even for local people, or a training centre as the title implies.

    In addition to this, perusing the plans kindly provided by your group, I have just noticed that this “Beacon tennis center” is proposed as having a 3 metre high mesh fence. What this means is that the people who were not consulted about the tennis courts in front of their houses will have their view of half of the park totally obscured. This I think is something that we should have been directly consulted on and if there are to be 4 rather than 6 courts and this is pursued, I sincerely hope that they are as far away from the houses as possible and that local people access to the park is not blocked.

    I have written to the Councillors today to try and get some answers to these questions. I will endeavour to update when I do.

    • markminard says:

      Have found this Part of Email sent on 30 June 2011
      “6 Beacon Tennis facilities ” is the term they use.

      Manchester City Council is actively working with the Lawn Tennis
      > Association to improve the offer of tennis to its residents with a number
      > of initiatives in schools, clubs and parks. One of these initiatives is to
      > develop a network of 6 Beacon Tennis facilities across the City by 2015.
      > Manchester has recently been accredited with its first Tennis Beacon Site
      > at Manchester Tennis & Football Centre and there are aspirations to follow
      > this at:
      > Heaton Park
      > Wythenshawe Park
      > Chorlton Park
      > Wright Robinson College
      > Alexandra Park
      > With regards to Alexandra Park we will apply for Planning Permission for 6
      > tennis courts because the development of tennis in the City is a priority
      > for both the LTA and the City Council. At this stage however, we will
      > construct a 4 court facility, reducing the number of trees that originally
      > were earmarked to be removed. In time, when the City’s ambitions for the
      > growth of the sport are realised we will be able to cater for the extra
      > demand envisaged and increase the number of courts if necessary

  2. I just Googled Beacon Tennis facilites. From what I can make out, you have to pay to play, but they have to have a few slots where local people can play for free (with eg a £5 deposit for your racket) One such centre had slots three mornings a week between 7am and 8am, I think it was on two out of 10 courts and an hour on each of Saturday and Sunday.

    I do not know if this will be the same model here, but it would appear to be very different from what we had before, which was two courts which anyone could play on.

    I look forward to the councillors responses.

    • markminard says:

      The Council said it was all about the public provision of courts after it was pointed out to them there were already a large number tennis clubs within a short distance of the park and the Whalley Range Tennis Club was listed as a place the LTA was already providing this tennis support that they will offer in Alexandra Park.(on our DEC 17th presentation to council posted on this site)
      So if any restricted public playing is what LTA Beacon centers are about in this park that it seems a bit of a shaded sell off of residents public space and over provision as paid tennis is already abundantly available. Whalley Range Tennis Club head person on 1st Dec Open day said they have enough space for growth and welcome new members.

      I am in favour of tennis and courts and play myself but sited in the right place and in the right number and talk to the people directly effected on Smalldale Avenue, especially if we have to loose 100 year old trees now and in the future when they want 6 courts.

      If Council are presenting a planning application to the community but it is still not clear what the offer is for tennis on the plan, how can anybody make an informed decision on the planning proposal. We should not be guessing without any information the day before the tennis courts are going in! Especially when it involves cutting down 100 years old trees, with threat of arrest if local residents interfere.

      Put them in the vast expanses of open space in the park, not surrounded by trees that are going to mess up the court surface and be costly to manage and want to charge more for using the courts due to setting up natural conflicts of interest for years to come.

  3. I hope that leaves on the courts will not be solved by cutting down more trees. It is already going to blight the view if it goes ahead where it is. For me however a key issue is if as you say it equates to selling off some of the land to a private concern? I understand that it may involve some limited free slots to local people, but what will it cost the rest of the time? Will it price local people out and cause divisions? I have also asked the council about the access to the park and if this will be affected. No one would say we do not want resources for local kids, but will it in the end turn out to be something very different. As you say, we should not be guessing at this stage. Some of the trees have already been torn down.

  4. pomfrog says:

    I urge residents of Smalldale Avenue to contact local news about this – BBC Northwest were in the park this morning filming the area to be felled. I told them about local residents’ not having been made aware, but it would be great if they could talk to residents themselves.

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