Agenda item

Lawn Tennis Association Funded Improvement Project for Arun's Tennis Sites

This report provides detail on a new online booking platform, court gate access control and refurbishment project for Arun owned tennis courts, funded through grant funding provided by the Lawn Tennis Association.

[15 Minutes]


The Chair welcomed Matt Glazier, Parks Investment Delivery Partner for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and thanked him for coming to the meeting.


Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Environmental Services & Strategy Manager introduced the report, which he saw as a great opportunity, and handed over to the LTA Parks Investment Delivery Partner.


The LTA Parks Investment Delivery Partner gave an overview of the work of the LTA. He explained that parks were important as more people played tennis in a park than a more traditional setting, as was somewhere most people felt more comfortable playing for the first time and therefore a gateway into the sport. They had been working closely with local authorities over the past 9 years, providing support in terms of technology and awareness, and improving the ability for people to get onto the sites and enjoy playing tennis. They had found not all parks tennis facilities were in good enough condition to promote, which had been a barrier. The LTA had been able to secure a significant investment from Central Government of around £22million to improve the quality of parks tennis facilities and provide gate access. This had been topped up by £8million from their charity and they had been proactively targeting local authorities with parks tennis facilities they wanted to improve. They had been working on the correct operational model for Arun, in conjunction with the Council and Tivoli, across 4 sites. They had assessed what support and funding would be required to allow Tivoli, in partnership with the Council, to manage the sites more efficiently, encouraging more people to use them and ensuring the sites were sustainable. They had earmarked in the region of £54,000 of investment across the 4 sites - Swansea Gardens, Blakes Road, Norfolk Leisure Gardens and Maltravers Leisure Gardens.


          Members then took part in a question-and-answer session and the following points were made:

  • The report was welcomed and the charges thought reasonable. There was concern the £49 per year season ticket was too cheap and would not help to recoup money. The LTA Parks Investment Delivery Partner explained the fee was based on benchmarking across the region and the aim was to soften the move from being able to use the sight for free to a paid model. This could be reviewed.
  • There was further concern regarding the season ticket prices being too cheap, and that booking of these sessions may dominate use of the court. It was suggested this should be raised to £149 per year, or the usage reduced from 4 hours per week to 1 hour. The Environmental Services & Strategy Manager explained the prices were at the discretion of Tivoli, but that a further discussion could be had.
  • One Member felt there should be a half hour option for juniors too, with a rate of £2 for half an hour, and £4 per hour, and the rate for adult bookings should be double this cost. The Environmental Services & Strategy Manager explained they could also talk to Tivoli about these suggestions.
  • Had thought been given to making tennis more accessible for people in wheelchairs? The LTA Parks Investment Delivery Partner explained that as part of the improvement the gate access would be fully accessible. Training would also be provided to local coaches to ensure the correct equipment was available and the right level of coaching could be provided to all users.
  • Would there be concessions for disabled users? The Environmental Services & Strategy Manager said this could be looked at with Tivoli.
  • Support was expressed for Officers reviewing the pricing structure with Tivoli.
  • Questions were asked around the booking processes, and answers provided.
  • It was suggested that specialist wheelchairs with straps and anti-tip mechanisms be made available for wheelchair users.
  • Would reviewed charges come back to the Committee for approval? The Environmental Services & Strategy Manager explained this was an operational matter that would not usually require Member approval. This was a commercial decision and at the discretion of Tivoli and a requirement to obtain Member approval would delay the project. He confirmed he would take all comments from Members on board when discussing the pricing structure with Tivoli.
  • One Member asked that the landscaping and signage around the tennis courts be looked at.


Councillor Bicknell proposed an amendment to the Officer recommendation as follows (additions have been shown in bold and deletions in strikethrough):


That the Lawn Tennis Association grant funding for use as set out in this report be approved with the price structure to be reviewed as laid out in the Committee meeting.


The amendment was seconded by Councillor P. English, who had concerns over the unknown pricing structure.


Some Members had concerns about this amendment as it was felt it would be for Tivoli to set the fees.


The Director of Environment and Climate Change provided assurance that Officers would take the suggestions of Members on board regarding the pricing structure during conversations with Tivoli, and suggested authority be delegated to Officers for this, as this was an operational matter and not a matter for this Committee to decide.


The Chair adjourned the meeting for a short period.


Upon the meeting resuming, the amendment was withdrawn by Councillor Bicknell, with the agreement of the seconder, Councillor P. English. He felt reassured by Officers that they would go away and take on board the pricing structure discussed in the meeting. The seconder explained his understanding was that Officers would update the Chair and Vice-Chair, who would update the Committee. Any issues could be raised to the Chair and Vice Chair. This was confirmed to be correct by the Chair.



          The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Worne and seconded by Councillor Bicknell.



          The Committee




That the Lawn Tennis Association grant funding for use as set out in this report be approved

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