Tennis players who regularly use council-run courts in Oxford have issued the latest rallying cry for the facilities to be kept open for the public.

Solicitor Graham Willis and wife Linda are the latest tennis enthusiasts to voice their concern about the city council's plans to lease Alexandra Courts in Summertown to Wildwood Leisure, a private company.

They are urging city councillors to think again over proposals to allow Wildwood Leisure to modernise Alexandra Courts, in Middle Way, Summertown, where 14 grass and six hard courts, run by the city council, are making a loss.

Mr Willis, 52, who works in Oxford and plays regularly on the courts, said: "The Wildwood deal seems very misconceived for this site because the people using these courts will not benefit from the change - they will end up paying more.

"The first phase of the development will cost at least £400,000, with the second phase costing over £1m and there will be £15,000 a year rent as well, so it will take Wildwood quite a while to get their money back.

"The council seems intent on allowing Wildwood to provide a cheap version of the Esporta club over the road, but that is not what it should be doing.

"There is a lot of opposition to these proposals and we are trying to organise a day when local tennis players will play on the courts all day to highlight the need for them to stay pay- and-play."

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.

Andrew Parsons, a director of Wildwood Leisure, said: "The ward councillors seem to have got themselves into a muddle about what they want to happen.

"We are frustrated by these delays but we still want to provide tennis facilities at competitive prices on this site so we will have to wait and see what happens.

"We are still keen to go ahead but feel frustrated by the lack of guidance from planning officers."

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.

For the time being, the company has withdrawn its application to build the indoor tennis courts, but may resubmit plans at a later date.

Residents opposing the scheme 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.

The matter is expected to be discussed again at the north area committee next month, but Liberal Democrat councillor for Summertown Jean Fooks said a final decision on the lease might not be taken until August.

Ms Fooks said: "I'm still getting lots of email on this."