Renovation of Roland Garros blocked by tribunal

The planned renovation of Roland Garros is on hold after a Paris
tribunal on Friday sided with local residents who complained the
development could harm the environment.

The home of the French Open is undergoing an expansion that was
scheduled to be completed in 2017, with plans including a
retractable roof over the center court.

However, the Administrative Court of Paris ordered the plans to
be stopped, ruling in favor of three local associations who had
expressed concern about the impact on the environment, especially a
nearby botanical garden.

The tribunal said the French Tennis Federation had failed to
adequately address those concerns and that the fee it was set to
pay the city was too low.

The federation, whose plans were approved by city authorities
two years ago, said it noted the decision ”with astonishment” and
would appeal.

The tribunal ordered local authorities to cancel its agreement
with the federation within two months.

In a statement on its website, the FTF said it remained
determined to carry out the modernization of Roland Garros, calling
it ”vital for the sustainability” of the French Open.

The plans for Roland Garros have been controversial from the
start, after the federation voted in February 2011 to keep the
French Open there and renovate the existing site, rather than
moving the tournament.

Before the start of that year’s tournament, Paris Mayor Bertrand
Delanoe publicly dismissed concerns that the project – estimated to
cost about $390 million – would damage the botanical garden, saying
it ”will not destroy one single plant or one single flower.”

Roland Garros is the smallest of the four Grand Slam venues that
also includes the Australian Open at Melbourne, the U.S. Open at
Flushing Meadows in New York and London’s traditional grass-court
event at Wimbledon.