JUST weeks after Andy Murray won Wimbledon, a set of tennis courts in Hereford could be lost to the bulldozers.
BBC commentators are often heard bemoaning the lack of available places for children to swing a racket and imitate their Scottish hero.
But all-weather courts – originally built as five-aside football pitches – welcome Hereford youngsters who patiently queue to play tennis for free after community leaders found the cash to buy nets and paint the necessary lines.
However, all that could change if Herefordshire Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are successful when they submit a renewed planning application to tear up the public courts.
The local authority wants the small site located off Grandstand Road in Westfields in order to extend the Three Elms Trading Estate. An original proposal, approved in 2009, has since expired.
Councillor Charles Nicholls, ward councillor for Three Elms, is one of those fighting the plans.
He said the 2009 application was set up to accommodate traders being moved from Hereford’s old livestock market to make way for the new retail park.
However, according to Coun Nicholls, not one of the businesses moved to the Three Elms Trading Estate as all affected found other sites in the county.
He added: “The Three Elms Trading Estate has a really derelict appearance with old, out of date, tired looking buildings which have no appeal to would-be occupiers.
“This is yet another example of this administation’s political agenda which takes no notice of the people’s voice.
“In light of the fabulous success of Andy Murray and what it will do for tennis in the months and years to come, it makes our situation even more important.”
Sue Jones, secretary of the Grandstand Residents’ Association which set up the tennis courts, said: “I think it’s awful that we could lose them, especially when there are nine empty units opposite the courts.”
Ian Higgs, development officer at Herefordshire Council, said that the area has always been intended to be included in the employment zone.
He added: “The area historically used as a tennis court is in poor condition, with damaged surface, a broken surrounding wall and damaged chain link fencing above the wall level.”
A planning application to renew the permission needed to extend the trading estate is expected to be submitted soon.