Out! Fears that Globe tennis club will lose home
27 July, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
Members of the Globe in 1964
THE future of a Belsize Park community tennis club is in the balance after the Town Hall changed the terms of its lease.
The Globe tennis club, on council-owned land tucked behind Haverstock Hill, was set up in 1954.
For the first time its lease now includes a break clause which would allow Camden Council to give notice to quit should it wish to redevelop the site. Fears for the club’s future have been exacerbated by council officers drawing up a feasibility study to build 180 homes on the land.
The Globe was founded by tennis fans from around the world – hence the name – who found themselves unable to join private tennis clubs due to their ethnicity.
It is open to everyone from keen amateurs to children and beginners.
According to a letter seen by the New Journal, Town Hall officials have looked at how the land could be redeveloped.
In a letter to Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, a council official states: “Initial feasibility studies suggest that both residential and sporting facilities could be provided in a future development, although this may not necessarily include tennis facilities.”
Club president Anna Lee, who has played at The Globe since the 1960s, said: “The club has always been run by volunteers. We have over 400 members and 70 juniors. We provide free coaching to schools such as Haverstock and the Rosary. We have 200 children come in every week.”
She added: “We asked for a new lease without the break clause but it was refused. We have now heard they are looking into whether the site could be used for housing. It would mean we have to close. We recognise the need for housing and we fully understand the pressure the council is under but this is an important community facility which is in danger of being lost for good.”
Mrs Lee added that a rise in rent to £30,000 a year would also hit the club financially. She said: “The Lawn Tennis Association will not give us financial support if we have a three-year break clause, and we now have to raise extra money to find the rent.”
The Town Hall this week rejected claims that the land had been marked out for new housing.
Labour environment chief Phil Jones said: “The tennis club is a marvellous facility which their members use to keep fit and enjoy tennis. We are committed to encouraging sport and outside activity in Camden. It is normal practice to include a break clause in leases with voluntary groups who use council-owned land, and the tennis club is no different.”
Councillor Jones added: “Camden Council has supported Globe Lawn Tennis Club for a number of years with very reasonable rents and we’re happy to continue doing so under this new arrangement. As with any other property or land owned by the taxpayer and used for sport or community purposes, any future plans would be discussed fully with the club and the community.”