Residents' concern over Sheffield sports club expansion plan

Chris Cutforth and Catherine Clayton are objecting to Fulwood Sports Club's expansion plans.
Chris Cutforth and Catherine Clayton are objecting to Fulwood Sports Club's expansion plans.
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People living near a Sheffield sports club have called for a rethink on expansion plans that have already led to the loss of several old trees.

Officials at Fulwood Sports Club in Chorley Road have submitted plans to convert a grass tennis court into an artificial surface and create a new outdoor court to the rear of the squash building.

The new homes that are being built, next to where trees have been felled.

The new homes that are being built, next to where trees have been felled.

The club, which has 300 active tennis-playing members, also wants to move a perimeter fence closer to Chorley Road.

The aim, according to club officials, is to increase the facilities available to members while also making them more accessible.

But some people living nearby are angry at a perceived lack of consultation.

They also say the removal of several trees and the new court will lead to an increase in noise and light pollution.

The club was set up in 1910.

The club was set up in 1910.

Catherine Clayton, a teacher, lives in Canterbury Avenue. She is one of several people to have objected to the club's proposals.

She accused the club of not being a good neighbour.

"They chopped down all the trees parallel to Canterbury Avenue and did it without talking to any of the neighbours and consulting any of us," she said.

"Those trees had birds nesting in them for years, and we absolutely object to that."

Some of the felled trees.

Some of the felled trees.

"The new court is going to create a lot more noise and a lot worse light because those trees have been chopped down, as well as it being a plain wrong thing to do."

Mrs Clayton also raised concerns about the relocated fence. She said the plans were not specific about what would happen to a mature hedge and a large oak tree nearby.

But club director Ian Saunders countered the concerns. He said a firm building two homes on land right next to the felled trees was consulted, and they 'fully supported' their removal as they were 'of poor quality, over-powering and blocked natural daylight'.

The tree were not protected, said Mr Saunders, and the club's contractor did a full wildlife survey before beginning work. He said the Forestry Commission had subsequently visited after neighbour complaints and found no issues.

On the new fence, Mr Saunders said the boundary would increase by 1.5 metres so there was 'no requirement' to remove either the hedge or the oak tree.

And he said residents had been welcome to attend a recent open weekend to raise concerns if they had wanted to.

Mr Saunders added: "The sports club was founded in 1910 and has been on the same site ever since.

"The tennis section has recently been awarded Sheffield and District LTA club of the year, Yorkshire Club of the year and Northern Region Club of the year and consequently is entered in the LTA national final for National Club of the year.

"The club has seen a significant increase in participation particularly for ladies and children and now has over 20 teams in various leagues from under eights through to veterans. The resurfacing work is part of on-going improvements to facilities."

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