The good news is that the people in the Planning Department of South Ayrshire Council (SAC) have indeed been deluged with objections. They’ve received “hundreds” of emails and letters from all over the real tennis-playing world in the last two/three weeks. These need to be added to the 250 objections registered in 2004 (when the owner of Sun Court initially applied for demolition consent) and still valid today.
Indeed, the volume of objections – the Council is obliged to acknowledge them individually, take their content into account, and then send copies of its own recommendations on the future of the court to each objector wherever located – has meant a further one month’s delay in Sun Court going to the SAC Planning Committee. It is now scheduled for 6 March, not 6 February. So the deadline for objections is now 15 February, not 15 January. In short, the Council need more time, and so we now have more time to object. Let’s do it!
My view is that it is inconceivable that SAC will allow demolition. The court is a listed building, i.e. subject to a specific government-imposed preservation order. Moreover, a group of real tennis players (led by me) has offered to restore and operate the court at minimal expense to the owner – so the latter cannot argue, as was done two years ago, that nobody has any use for the building.
But it is still important to show SAC the strength of feeling, not just in the UK, against the very idea of demolition. Even if we win this battle, we will still have an uphill struggle to get the court restored and back in play.