Plans to spend almost £90,000 upgrading Horsham Park’s tennis courts will also see the reintroduction of charging for their use.
The improvements, which have come about due to a partnership between Horsham District Council (HDC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), include new fencing, surfacing, re-marking, and a Clubspark gate entry system which will allow players to book and pay using their smartphone.
Although the courts are currently free to use the new fee will be £6 per hour, which according to HDC will ensure that players are guaranteed the use of a court at their chosen time, and the facility is maintained to a high standard.
Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), HDC’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “I am delighted that by working together with LTA we have the opportunity of upgrading and increasing the use of our tennis courts.
“Following the loss of the tennis facilities at the Novartis site we have secured developer contributions which are enabling us to carry out significant improvements to the Horsham Park courts.”
All four courts will be used for tennis during the summer months, but in the winter the nets will be removed from two of the courts allowing football to take place.
The new gate and booking system will be operational from Monday July 25, with the main surfacing and fencing works being done later in the year to minimise disruption during the busy summer period.
The anticipated costs are: £27,500 for the new surface, £10,000 for the polyurethane coating, £48,500 for the upgraded fencing, £3,000 for reset edgings and sockets, and £1,000 for the re-lining.
The LTA are the national governing body of tennis in Great Britain.
A spokesman for the LTA said: “Horsham District Council are committed to encouraging more tennis across the whole sector of the local community, and by working in partnership we are able to offer them our expertise on upgrading the courts, access to many coaching opportunities and guidance on encouraging more local tennis.
“We will also be assisting with the setting of a Local Tennis League which will be open to players of all ages and skill levels and will put local players in touch with each other.”
More information on how the Local Tennis League will operate can be found at http://localtennisleagues.com and Horsham Park will be joining this league once the new gates are operational.
HDC has been working for several years to identify cost effective arrangements to manage the courts, with several approaches being adopted and aborted.
The council has given a commitment to the LTA that the income received will support the maintenance and enhancements of the courts, while the £6 per hour fee is aligned to the charge at other public courts, the LTA recommendation, and the index-linked fee previously charged for tennis court hire at Horsham Park.
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