The Royal Borough is set to modernise tennis courts at four parks in Windsor & Maidenhead as part of improving health and fitness facilities and opportunities for residents, thanks to potential significant investment from the Government and the LTA, the national governing body for tennis in Britain.
The investment, which is subject to site surveys and final contract, will be used to upgrade ten hard surface courts where there is identified demand and potential for improvement. These are the three dedicated tennis courts at Maidenhead’s Kidwells Park, two at Desborough Park, two at Oaken Grove, and three at Goswells Park/Alexandra Gardens in Windsor.
The funding is part of the UK Government and LTA’s joint investment of more than £30m to refurbish public tennis courts across Britain and support a new generation of players to get into the sport.
Subject to finalising the funding agreement with the LTA, work is scheduled to start in the autumn. Specific works at each site will depend on what improvements are needed and will include surface reconditioning, new nets, posts and fencing. There will also be an enhanced local tennis programme, including some free sessions, as part of the partnership with the LTA.
Access-controlled entry gates with an online booking system, now standard at many other venues, will ensure residents and groups can reserve their slots online before their turn up to play. This will benefit players at peak times, maximise court usage, increase participation and support the sustainable operation and maintenance of courts to a high standard.
Councillor Ross McWilliams, Cabinet Member for Digital Connectivity, Housing Opportunity, and Sport and Leisure, said: “This much welcome investment in those tennis courts which need it most is all part of our updated Sport and Leisure Strategy, whose primary objective is more residents getting more active, more often, leading to more healthy communities.
“We are sure these modernisation works, combined with improved operational arrangements and a local tennis programme, will be welcomed by the local tennis community and hopefully will attract even more people to participate in sport and get active through tennis.
“We’re working with LTA to finalise the funding agreement and discuss operational arrangements, including how the booking system and enhanced tennis programme will work, to ensure the courts are accessible and affordable for the whole community and can be maintained on an ongoing basis to a high standard.”
The Government and LTA investment is designed to open up the sport to people of all backgrounds, support the Government’s commitment to levelling up sports provision across the nation, and provide greater opportunities for children and adults to be active. This will see thousands of public park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of local communities.
Paul Bennett, Head of Parks Investment Delivery at the LTA, said: “We’re looking forward to completing the agreement and working with the Royal Borough to finalise the delivery plan across the four sites, including improving court accessibility, providing local activities and delivering the works on site from this autumn.
“The work is part of a national programme of investment that will be transformational for public tennis facilities in Britain, with Windsor and Maidenhead among some of the first communities to benefit.
“Alongside the work to repair and refurbish courts, as part of our vision to open tennis up to more people, we are also committed to ensuring that any investment is supported by sustainable community tennis programmes so courts see a real growth in usage and local authorities can continue to invest in their courts over the long term. It’s an approach that has been successfully trialled over the last few years and so we’re really excited to see the impact it can have for residents in the Royal Borough.”