CHARGES could be introduced at Warwick District Council-owned tennis courts in Leamington and Kenilworth.
Following the recent upgrade of the courts at Victoria Park and Christchurch Gardens and the planned upgrade of further courts in the next few years, Warwick District Council (WDC) is seeking views on proposed changes.
They include introducing fees for the use of courts at Abbey Fields in Kenilworth and Christchurch Gardens in Leamington – charges are already in place at Victoria Park and St Nicholas Park.
WDC say the fees would be affordable, and the income generated would be used to fund the future maintenance and development of tennis activities at the council’s venues.
Some concessionary charges and free sessions will be retained. At present, the council is consulting on the principle of charging – the exact fees will be determined at a later stage.
WDC owns 21 tennis courts across the district at Victoria Park, St Nicholas Park, Christchurch Gardens and Abbey Fields.
And the council is also proposing to appoint either a single or several operators to manage the courts and widen the opportunities for people to take part in the sport.
As part of a wider review of its tennis, athletics and football facilities, the council has been working closely with the Lawn Tennis Association to understand the best way to improve the tennis facilities and the options available to encourage more people to try the sport, as well as ensuring that the courts are financially sustainable.
WDC leisure spokesman Liam Bartlett said: “The recent success of Britain’s Emma Raducanu has no doubt inspired a new generation to take up the sport.
“At present, there are no organised activities on the tennis courts at St Nicholas Park, Abbey Fields or Christchurch Gardens. The proposal to have all venues operated by one or more experienced organisations means that a range of activities including taster sessions, coaching, holiday clubs, walking and disability sessions will be able to take place, making the sport accessible for everyone.
“This will enable the courts at all of the sites to be used to their best potential, increasing people’s physical activity, introducing more people to this wonderful game and allowing people access to a range of activities including coaching right across the district.
“The current level of income received from the courts at Victoria Park and St Nicholas Park does not cover the basic ongoing costs of day-to-day maintenance or future upgrade work, such as resurfacing.
“By introducing fees at all courts, we’ll be able to ensure that tennis provision in the area is sustainable into the future with all courts having the same quality on offer, and hopefully Warwick district will be able to produce the next world champion.”
A consultation exercise has already been undertaken with local sports clubs, and now residents are being invited to submit their thoughts on the proposals on the council’s website until October 24.
Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tennisconsultation to view the proposals and comment.