Elderly residents fear a new tennis centre could make a real racket near their homes in North Oxford.

And they have urged city councillors to take a closer look at proposals by Wildwood Leisure to modernise Alexandra Courts, in Middle Way, Summertown, where the 14 grass and six hard courts, run by the city council, are making a loss.

Wildwood Leisure was close to signing a 25-year lease with the council, but progress on the deal is now on hold after residents voiced their concerns at the council's north area committee meeting on Thursday.

Councillor Jean Fooks said a decision on the lease agreement had been deferred to the committee's July meeting. A public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 29, so that neighbours can get a briefing on all aspects of the plans.

Wildwood's long-term proposals include a building to house four indoor courts as part of a 14-court centre, but some residents fear this will lead to noise disturbance.

They include Mary Grice, 80, of Charles Ponsonby House, off Osberton Road, where the pensioners' flats have a gated access on to the park containing Alexandra Courts.

She said: "I'm 80 and some of the other residents are in their nineties and we simply want a bit of peace and quiet - we don't want to have to listen to toddler tennis sessions.

"I don't think our building was even included in the planning drawings but we're determined that we will not be forgotten about and we want to have our say on this.

"Some of us played tennis at Alexandra Courts 70 years ago but I think what's being planned now is too large and too close to people's homes."

Nicholas Hardyman, who runs the community website summertown.info has organised an online petition, urging the council to reconsider signing the 25-year lease with Wildwood.

Mr Hardyman said the row over Alexandra Courts was "gathering pace", and urged residents to attend the public meeting, which will be held at Summertown church hall, in Portland Road, at a time to be confirmed.

Andrew Parsons, of Wildwood Leisure, who addressed the area committee, confirmed he would attend the public meeting to explain the firm's ideas.

He added that a planning application to redesign the courts would be resubmitted at a later date.

Mr Parsons said: "It's frustrating that the advice we're getting from the city council has now changed, because originally we were being pushed into signing a lease in March.

"It's frustrating that we can't make any progress on this and our plans for the summer have gone out of the window.

"Some of the people objecting to our plans want the courts to stay the same, because at the moment they don't pay anything to play on the hard courts. Often no-one is there to collect the money.

"If we do take the courts over, we would maintain the pay-and-play heritage and keep our prices competitive with council prices, because otherwise we wouldn't get any customers."