VOLLEYS have been fired in a tennis skirmish sparked off by a council decision to shut popular courts in Barrhead for two weeks this month.
A councillor has called “fault” over the timing of the closure to let maintenance go ahead, saying the work in Cowan Park should have been done during lockdown rather than now.
Tennis players have described the timing of the closure, coming at the start of peak demand for the game, as “bizarre”.
However, East Renfrewshire Council has hit back, saying to have done the work during lockdown would have been in direct violation of Government guidelines.
Barrhead councillor, Paul Aitken, told the Barrhead News: “The council have sat on their hands throughout the long months of lockdown and have now decided to shut down the tennis courts during the first two weeks of July.
“They have waited until the general public are being told to get out there and get some exercise.”
He also pointed out that Clarkston Tennis Club went ahead with resurfacing work during May, adding: “Which Government guidelines said that work couldn’t be carried out outdoors? Answer, none.”
A council spokesperson said: “When lockdown was announced on March 23 all non-essential work was halted, including the use of contractors. This £7,000 upgrade work at Cowan Park would have been carried out during April to avoid disruption during the summer holidays, but this was not possible.
“To have carried out these works during lockdown would have been in direct violation of the guidance from the Scottish Government, so it is wrong to suggest the work could have been completed already.
“Only recently have the rules around the construction industry been relaxed and we have moved swiftly to ensure this upgrade work can be carried out as soon as possible.
“When complete, the works to enhance the surface of the three tarmac courts and re-line them will vastly improve them for our residents and we appreciate their patience.”
Tennis players say they are baffled by the timing of the work.
One player, Stuart Dykes, said: “I understand that they had to postpone it during the initial lockdown.
“But can’t see why the work could not have rescheduled for after the summer holidays when fewer people want to play.”