Tennis club chairman ousted in no confidence vote over sports hub row

Kelvin van Hasselt, the new chairman at Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association. Picture: Neil Did

Kelvin van Hasselt, the new chairman at Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

The chairman of an embattled north Norfolk sports club has been ousted by 39 votes to 17 in a vote of no confidence triggered by a row over plans for a new multi-million pound sports hub.

Nick Amis, former chairman of the Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association (CLTSA), was removed at a special general meeting on Monday, April 15.

The vote, held ahead of the annual general meeting (AGM), saw 56 of the club's 140-strong voting members have their say over Mr Amis' leadership.

Divisions emerged at the CLTSA after the committee agreed to partially cede two of its outdoor courts to a new community sports hub planned at Cromer Academy.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) approved £3.2m to fund the hub last year, and a further £672,000 after a promised £500,000 investment fell through.

And Mr Amis backed the project despite some players expressing concerns about the committee not consulting the club's membership.

The no confidence motion stated: 'The members of CLTSA who are entitled to vote have no confidence in the chairman and committee of CLTSA and the lease from NNDC should be maintained with no changes.'

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It passed with 39 votes for and 17 against, with four abstentions, and AGM minutes stated ballots were counted by three CLTSA members with differing views on the issue.

The club's new chairman, Kelvin van Hasselt, said the decisive vote saw Mr Amis leave the meeting 'immediately'.

He and his wife Sherry Amis, and Tony Spurgeon and Beryl Mansell, were awarded lifetime CLTSA memberships for their 'long and dedicated service' to the club.

Mr van Hasselt said the result 'calls the whole decision into question' and said it was his firm intention to renegotiate the lease.

He added: 'NNDC should have made sure the members agreed.'

An NNDC spokesman said: 'The CLTSA entered into a binding agreement with the council to vary their lease of two tennis courts with the Council, to enable the Inspiration Trust to take ownership, whilst still providing the CLTSA 96pc of its current hours of use.

'On the basis of that binding agreement, the council exchanged contracts with the trust for the site of the Community Sports Hub, which is also binding on us both.

'On that basis, the construction contract to build the Community Sports Hub has been formally instructed to commence on completion of the relevant land transactions.

'The council has not received any correspondence from Mr Hasselt since he became chairman of the CLTSA and does not understand how any of the contracts can be renegotiated.

'We expect the new facility to therefore be completed in late 2019 and would hope that, as a party to the project, the CLTSA will work positively with us to make this project a success.'

Mr Amis was contacted for comment but did not respond.