It wasn't quite the long line that forms outside Wimbledon each summer as avid tennis fans queue up for tickets.

But there were still the deck chairs, placard and the odd mug of tea outside Norwich's newest tennis courts, as protestors gathered to demonstrate against the project.

Some neighbours living near Heigham Park are angry that its new hard playing surface has been installed at the expense of the city's last public grass courts, and that the money should have been spent elsewhere.

The demonstration was organised by Anne Holgate, a local artist and grandmother, who was joined by her dog, Buttons, and two other protesters.

She described the work as the"ruination of the heritage of the park" and accused the council of wasting money on the site at a time when people were going hungry as a result of the rising cost of living.

She made a coffin lid with the message 'food not tennis' on it to make the point.

Eastern Daily Press: Heigham Park protestersHeigham Park protesters (Image: George Thompson)

“When many people can’t afford to put food on the table, Norwich City Council has seen fit to spend more than one-quarter of a million pounds of public money on more tennis courts," she said.

"I doubt whether many households dependent on universal credit will pay £35 to join Norwich Parks Tennis.

"I am also furious at the city council having permanently blighted historic Heigham Park in its care.

"The all-weather courts are nothing more than a vanity project by a council leadership determined to use public money for its own ends.”

Eastern Daily Press: Then and now at Heigham ParkThen and now at Heigham Park (Image: George Thompson)

Others have criticised the state of the courts and questioned whether the council has met legal obligations in building them.

James Packham, who is a neighbour and objector to the plans, said the planning application included conditions for bespoke 'sunflower' gates, interpretation signs, and traffic and transport plans. He argued these have not yet been met.

Meanwhile, the court itself appears to have been finished in black while the 2018 planning application promised ‘green coloured porous hard courts’.

"We are puzzled why the nets are up when the work is clearly not finished and the council has not fulfilled its own obligations. This project looks a mess," said Mr Packham, who is from the Heigham Park Consultation Group.

"The park and community deserve much better."

Eastern Daily Press: Playing tennis at Heigham Park in the July heatwave. Photo: Bill SmithPlaying tennis at Heigham Park in the July heatwave. Photo: Bill Smith (Image: Archant © 2013)

Green councillor Denise Carlo also criticised the council for not listening to the public and their alternative proposals for the courts.

The council says the site will offer an important facility for the people of Norwich.

A council spokeswoman said the courts would be open next month but work had been delayed due to vandalism.

This includes the electrical cabinet being set alight, gloss paint being thrown on the courts and superglue put into padlocks to try and prevent access.

She said parts of the project may be completed after the courts open.