Plans for 'eyesore' inflatable tennis court cover given go ahead

Stonehaven Tennis Club sought permission for the structure to allow matches to continue during winter months.

Plans for ‘eyesore’ inflatable tennis court cover in Stonehaven given go ahead by councillors LDRS

A new green inflatable tennis court cover will be making its way to Stonehaven despite fears it will create an ‘eyesore’ on the beach front.

Stonehaven Tennis Club applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking permission for the nine metre tall structure that will arch over the courts.

It will help meet the club’s “long held desire” to find an indoor solution to extend its hours during bad weather, the winter season and evenings.

But the cover has split opinion in the town.

A total of 109 representations were submitted to the local authority – of which 71 were in support and 38 against.

One resident, Shona Dawson, said: “Why anyone would put an eyesore like that in the middle of a beautiful, picturesque town like Stonehaven is beyond me.”

While Kathleen Lawrie said the “huge inflated green carbuncle” would negatively impact her stay at the nearby caravan park.

Council planners even described it as “somewhat of a Marmite structure”, that will be visible from the Black Hill War memorial and Bervie Braes.

A warm air blower would run to ensure the inflatable structure maintains its shape during use.

As the courts sit next to the caravan park, there was some concern the air blower could create a noise nuisance to residents.

But the council’s environmental health team are assured it will not be loud enough to cause any problems.

The club revealed it can withstand winds of up to 150mph, meaning the structure could be used in all weathers, ensuring no games would need to be cancelled.

But the cover wouldn’t be needed in the summer.

It is expected to be in use from the end of September through to the middle of April.

LED lighting will be used inside the structure to give enough light for games to be played.

The application went before the Kincardine and Mearns area committee this week.

Speaking on behalf of the tennis club, Karl Lebedis said it provided an “opportunity to provide a top-class sporting and leisure facility”.

He went on to say it would be a “significant investment” in the facilities on the recreational grounds – the largest of its kind for many years.

Karl told councillors that playing and coaching in Stonehaven during the winter can be “particularly challenging” due to strong coastal winds.

He added: “For us, the availability of an indoor arena such as this will allow the club to give a much better coaching and playing experience for our junior players.”

Karl went on to explain that the project would benefit the whole of Stonehaven too.

The club intends to make the courts available to the community to run other leisure activities such as fitness classes and yoga sessions.

And Karl argued it was needed as there is only one indoor tennis facility available to the general public in the north-east, but it is located in Aberdeen.

He stated: “This is an opportunity for a facility that’s not very common to be located in Stonehaven that will be very good for the town.”

Council planners had recommended the plan be approved.

While they noted it would be visible from afar, they argued the green colour would allow it to blend in better with the landscape and surrounding buildings.

Councillor Dawn Black backed the proposal and suggested the committee approve it.

Her view was supported by councillor Catherine Victor who said: “This is only a temporary fixture, it won’t be there permanently.

“We have to move along with the times and try to provide facilities that people can use all year round in Scotland.

“We are way behind some other countries in the world as far as that goes so I think anything we can do to improve facilities in the winter time is commended.”

Committee members went on to unanimously grant the application.

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