Statement from MPP Trustees on Chantry Tennis Club

Moseley Park and Pool Trustees feel it is important that Park users and the local community are fully aware of current discussions with the Chantry Tennis Club with regard to the renewal of their lease.

This statement explains our position.

Chantry Tennis Club and its history in the park 

Tennis has been played in the Park since 1900. The three main courts and the pavilion were constructed by the owners of the Park – Moseley Park & Pool Company Ltd. They also provided a Bowling Green where the two, junior courts presently sit.  These facilities were originally open to all.

In 1959, the Bowling Green still being in existence, the Tennis club was granted a 7 year lease for the 3 courts for an annual rent of £65. In 1968 the Chantry Tennis Club took out a twenty-one year lease for exclusive use of the 5 courts and pavilion.  This lease has never been formally renewed, and the Club has continued to pay a rent which has remained at £100 per annum.

Our vision for a thriving tennis club for all

We want to see Chantry Tennis Club continue to thrive, while improving facilities and opening up access to the wider community. This includes making sure children from schools can benefit by learning to play tennis there as part of their sporting curriculum.

Why we need to re-negotiate the lease

The Club originally leased the courts from Moseley Park and Pool Company.  In 2006, this Company was replaced by the Moseley Park and Pool Trust – a charitable trust as defined by the Charities Act.

We are legally obliged to manage the affairs of the Trust in line with guidance provided by the Charity Commission. This includes a requirement to seek market rents for any property leased by the Trust and to seek appropriate professional advice when needed.

The current rent of £100 a year – or less than 30p a day – is not in line with market rents.

The results of the renegotiation

During the past few months, we have been in discussion with the Tennis Club, with the aim of agreeing a new lease. We have sought the advice of an appropriately experienced firm of solicitors.

The Tennis Club has asserted their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and has tried to impose their own terms for a new lease.

As it is normal for the landlord to prepare a lease, and the Park Trustees have a legal obligation to secure proper market terms for any such lease, the advice given by the Park’s solicitors has been to serve six months’ notice on the Tennis Club to terminate the existing lease (although that notice period can be further extended by agreement between the parties

Working towards a solution

We want to reach an amicable solution with the club’s members, so they can continue to enjoy playing tennis there.

Although the notice has been served, and cannot be legally withdrawn, we do not want to have to enforce it.

Our underlying intention is to seek to agree a new lease with the Chantry Tennis Club upon terms which will ensure the future of the Tennis Club and enable the facilities to be improved, thus benefitting everyone who wishes to play tennis.

Our overall aim is to preserve and enhance this historic park and its facilities for people to use and enjoy. Our intention is to make the Park available to more people of all ages in a variety of ways. This includes a wide range of sports facilities as well as tennis.

In conclusion, as Trustees we have to act in the interest of the Park in accordance with the guidance given by the Charities Commission.  Within this context, it is hoped that an amicable agreement with the Chantry Tennis Club can be achieved by meaningful negotiations.