Campaigners trying to save a 100-year-old tennis club from development have accused the church that owns the land of "cashing in".

More than 160 people have objected to plans to build eight homes and a new clubhouse at Fortis Green Tennis Club, set behind gardens off Southern Road in Muswell Hill.

The United Reformed Church's Thames North Synod, which owns the land, submitted a joint application with developer Fortis Green LLP to Haringey Council.

The independent club, which is more than 100 years old, currently has four clay tennis courts and a single-storey clubhouse, but this will be reduced to three courts if the development goes ahead.

Among those opposed to the plans are Labour parliamentary candidate Catherine West and Liberal Democrat councillor Dawn Barnes, as well as groups including Friends of Cherry Tree Wood.

Fortis Green Tennis Club courts are secure for children, siblings, and thriving say objectors against housing plansFortis Green Tennis Club (Image: FGTC)

The United Reformed Church owns the land, which is leased to the tennis club on a short-term basis. 

Club member Mark Wood said: "The church inherited this club and now wants to cash in on that ownership."

"The club is thriving," he added. "The developer argues the club is in decline but it isn't. We have a growing youth programme and membership is growing." 

He said this would be impacted if development plans went ahead.

The courts are only accessible through a narrow alleyway from Southern Road, which Mr Wood says it is "very secure" for young children.

The club's entrance in Southern Road.The club's entrance in Southern Road. (Image: Google)

This would be retained, but Mr Wood said there would now be a road to new homes that would be open to everyone with a block of flats looking down on members."

Councillors in neighbouring Barnet have also received complaints and objections, particularly regarding the access via Cherry Tree Road.

The URC said its plans to redevelop the site "seeks to improve facilities for existing and new users, as well as the wider community".

They said their proposals include a "new, modern clubhouse with greater accessibility, proper showers and drainage systems".

They added: "The tennis courts have not been upgraded for a number of years and are showing signs of age. 

"Should no work be done, it would not be long before the courts would become unplayable and possibly dangerous to use."

They added: "The plans are now in the hands of the planning committee to consider the facts and merits of the planning application which include a small housing development on part of the land."