Top tennis player is ruled ‘out’ over plans for court at his Kirdford home

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He may once have been Britain’s top tennis player, but efforts by Greg Rusedski to build a tennis court of his own at his home in Kirdford have been ruled ‘out’ by planners.

Chichester District Council (CDC) says the former World Number Four has failed to prove land he wanted to use next to his farm was garden rather than farmland.

Mr Rusedski, who has lived in Kirdford since 2005, had applied for a certificate of lawfulness claiming it had been used for recreation for more than 20 years.

In a letter to the council he said: “During the period of my ownership the garden land was used as a garden ancillary to our use and enjoyment of the house by me and my family. It was used as a recreational garden and in particular I recall using it for children’s games and keeping the grass mown during the summer months. No farm animals have ever been allowed on the garden land during my period of occupation or ownership.

“I wish to construct a tennis court on the garden land for recreational use ancillary to the use and ownership of the house by myself and my family.”

Mr Rusedski, who lives at the farm with his wife and two children, was backed by the former owner of the house, Nicholas Sheehan, and neighbour Edward Silvester. Mr Sheehan, who lived there for ten years before the Rusedskis, said the land had been used for cricket matches, birthday parties and his daughter’s wedding reception.

Mr Silvester, the former farm stockman and relief milkman, said it had been used for recreation rather than farming since at least 1990.

Kirdford Parish Council said it would not object as long as district council officers were ‘happy that the evidence provided is sufficient to prove that this land had been used as residential for 20 years’.

But in its refusal decision, the council said it was not satisfied from its own records and ‘the balance of probabilities’ that the use described by the Rusedskis had taken place for a period of ten years prior to the application being made last year.

Mr Rusedski turned professional in 1991, represented Canada for four years and then played for Britain until he retired in 2007.

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