Children's tennis lesson at Whitchurch Tennis Club. Credit: Mike Lubienski.

Tennis club may be forced to close to make way for housing

Members are campaigning to save what they say is a valuable asset for the community

WHITCHURCH Tennis Club may be forced to close its doors in 2025 as its landlords are in talks with a housing developer.

Club member Noreen Ach said: “We are worried we may lose a really big part of the community and big part of people’s social lives. So many people use the club for sports and social events.”

Members are meeting at the club this Thursday November 17 with councillors and others to discuss the club’s future.

The tennis club is over a century old, and is home to yoga classes, mother and baby clubs, and Scrabble sessions for the elderly.

Ms Ach’s two daughters, aged five and nine, have had tennis lessons at the club since they were three.

“This club has been going on for over 100 years and now it could be written off for generations to come,” she added.

The club and its landlords went to court in 2019 to discuss a new contract after the original lease ran out. After negotiations lasting 14 months, the landlords offered the club a compromise 15-year lease.

However, the agreement included an option to break the lease after five years, and the landlords have given notice that it will take that up in 2025.

Club chairman Mike Lubienski, in a letter to the community, said: “The threat to the future of Whitchurch Tennis Club never went away and now appears to be very imminent.

“We were forced to concede that the landlords could operate break laws after five years of the lease and now they have done it.”

The landlords plan to serve notice in time for 2025 so the site can be developed for housing, their plan since the previous court battle, according to Mr Lubienski.

Ms Ach lives on St Frances Road, just behind the tennis club, and is concerned at the impact the homes plan would have on the neighbourhood.

“It just feels like Whitchurch is getting so much housing but not getting any more facilities. There is nothing for the community and we are losing our green space,” she said.

Whitchurch Tennis Club is a private club, but there are few courts in Cardiff open to public use. “With tennis not being taught in a majority of schools, a whole generation of locals could miss out on learning tennis,” according to Ms Ach.

There are 10 public tennis courts in Cardiff, none of which is in Whitchurch. If the tennis club does close, the closest courts would be a 24-minute walk away.

Mr Lubienski and other members are hosting a meeting this Thursday November 17 at 7.30pm at the tennis club to discuss the club’s future.

The chairman said: “Having a solid presence of people at the meeting will bring across the sense of support that our club has.”

The Cardiffian is awaiting a response from the landlords.