A TENNIS club says Knox Council is "stonewalling" its attempts to boost membership levels and attract children to the sport.
Rowville Tennis Club wrote to the council eight weeks ago seeking permission to use the adjacent netball courts for a Tennis Australia Hot Shots program for children under eight.
The netball courts, in the Police Paddocks area, would be solely used for the program and be divided into eight modified tennis courts with small nets, making it one of the first centres of its kind in Australia.
However, club president Sandi Dawson said the council had refused to allow the club to use the abandoned courts for several reasons which the club says are unfounded.
Ms Dawson said the project would not require funding because the club had the support of Tennis Australia and was sponsored by an international sports goods supplier.
"If there are any costs incurred, like the painting, we are happy to pay for them," Ms Dawson said.
The council told Ms Dawson that the netball courts could not be used because the Eastern Model Car Club used the area for shows.
"Our secretary has been at the club for 30 years and has never seen any model cars on the grounds," Ms Dawson said.
The council's community services director Kerry Stubbings said it had advised a car club representative of the request.
Despite the group not using the venue since May last year, the council regards the car club as a 'casual user' of the courts and expects it to book the venue again.
Ms Dawson said the tennis club was told it needed 300 members before the council would consider supporting the Hot Shots initiative. The club only has 40 members.
"These new courts would attract kids to tennis. The council don't understand - they think we can just use the clay courts."
Ms Stubbings said she thought the Hot Shots program could be accommodated in the club's existing courts because it would be a "more financially sustainable model".
She said parking and access issues would need to addressed if there were more players and, because the council managed the land on behalf of Parks Victoria, PV would also need to be consulted.
Ms Dawson told the Weekly she believed the council, which carried out a review of tennis clubs in Knox, was not supporting the Rowville club's efforts because it wanted Rowville to either close or merge with Eildon Park Tennis Club.
"But this [netball court idea] is good for the community, schools can use it and we'll get kids into tennis at a younger age."
Ms Stubbings denied the request was refused as a result of the council's review.