Tennis fans are serving a petition to Westminster Council complaining that tennis coaches are being forced out by new contracts at Paddington Recreation Ground.
Westminster Council has approved new contracts, endorsed by the Lawn Tennis Association, which offered existing coaches the chance to sign up and give more discounted lessons to residents or else pay commercial rates for use of the facilities when they give private tuition.
But 300 people have signed a petition opposing the move, claiming it is forcing out long-serving tennis coaches such as Bradley Roberts, Eduardo Caffarena and Nicolas Marinopouos.
Mr Roberts, 48, has taught hundreds of students since he began coaching at the recreation ground in Randolph Avenue in 1989. He said the new contracts required him to pay the council £1,000 a month for use of the facilities, up from £89 a month before. "We are never going to sign up to that," he said.
But, since wrangles with the new contract began this year, Mr Roberts said he has lost more than half his income from coaching and that he was considering legal action.
"This is really affecting me financially and the situation is dire but we are not going to change what we have been doing for 20 years because the council moves the goal posts," he said. "We have organised the petition to put pressure on the council and legal options remain open to recoup out lost income."
Labour group leader councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said the three coaches had the support of players at the recreation ground. "Westminster's high-handed and incomprehensible action means that three excellent tennis coaches have been forced out of Paddington Rec," he said.
But cabinet member for neighbourhoods councillor Audrey Lewis said the new contracts were aimed at opening up access to the game to people on lower incomes and that the tennis coaches had been benefiting from a subsidy with reduced rates, until now.
"This is about making tennis more accessible for people who love the game but perhaps cannot afford to pay the higher prices for private lessons, as well as ensuring the quality of vouching provision," she said. "The coaches can retain their existing client base but we want them to provide more group sessions at discounted rates so more people can take part."