AMATEUR tennis players in Ulverston have told councillors they cannot be serious about plans to cut the number of courts in the town.

Ulverston Tennis Club members have warned South Lakeland District Council that tennis provision is seriously under threat across Furness.

Last month, the council tabled scaled-back plans for a new leisure centre at Priory Road, citing reduced financial support from GSK.

But at a meeting in Kendal, opponents said the revised layout continues the trend of prioritising other sports ahead of tennis by “scrapping” indoor court provision.

“What the Furness community needs is a plan that enhances the leisure facility for all, not one that provides new facilities for the swimming and gym-going community at the expense of trashing the area’s tennis facilities,” said objector Peter Barton.

Caroline Clutterbuck, from Ulverston, told councillors she had played tennis for 35 years and planned to carry on until she was 93, like a fellow player in Ulverston, which has had its own tennis club for more than a century.

She said the number of tennis clubs in Furness had “significantly reduced” because Barrow no longer had any courts, while Ulverston had lost three in recent years to make way for a 3G football pitch.

Opponents argued that the sport remains popular in Ulverston throughout the week, as well as hosting county matches and coaching for juniors and adults.

Annette Foot, speaking on behalf of her husband David, said the council’s drive to reduce the costs of the new centre would only hurt the sport. “The revised facilities mix requires further consultation and design with users and sport governing bodies so needs can best be accommodated,” she said.

Mrs Foote called for at least two indoor and two outdoor tennis courts to be made available.

Council chairman Giles Archibald said: “We will respond to the questions raised and I while I won’t pre-empt that response, I have been very pleased with the all-party support for working together in producing a new leisure centre. We still have an open mind about the final design.”