Investment serves to increase interest in tennis

Published on Thu May 25 2023
Green hard surfaced tennis court with a bright blue "apron"

Tennis courts in parks across the borough have been refurbished as part of an investment in local facilities by Burnley Council, the UK Government and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Tennis Foundation.

Alongside the £58,860 investment, the council and Burnley Tennis Club will also work with the LTA to deliver a range of coaching activities across the park sites.

This will include weekly organised free tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience, where equipment is provided, meaning that people will not need someone to play with or their own racket. Local tennis leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition.

As part of the scheme the courts will be secured using a gate access and pin code system and will need to be pre-booked via an online system at a charge of £3 an hour, but there will be regular free sessions available as well. A season ticket will cost £35 and cover up to five people.

Details on how to book a local court and how the scheme works are available here

It is important that the courts are sustainable and any money raised will be set aside for future repair and maintenance of the courts, as well as further improvements, so they are available for generations to come

The approach has been piloted successfully in other parts of the country over the past three years and evidence from other sites shows that installing gate access technology increases participation. This is because people know a court will be available for them before setting off to play. It also means that free tennis sessions and coaching can be scheduled at specific times. Gate access also helps reduce anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

The sites, which involve 11 courts in total, are:

  • Scott Park
  • Memorial Park (Park Road)
  • Ightenhill Park
  • Queen’s Park

Work to upgrade the courts has been completed and the scheme is set to come into operation from 30th May.

The scheme will be officially launched at Scott Park on Sunday 18th June with Burnley Tennis Club providing fun taster sessions. If you are interested and want to take part please book a place/session

Councillor John Harbour, the council’s executive member for housing and green spaces, said: “We’re aware that introducing a small charge could be prohibitive to some but we will continue to offer free sessions at certain times and we have kept any charge to a minimum. By introducing a booking system people can be assured that when they turn up to play a court will be available to them which will encourage them to use the facilities.”

The project is part of a nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts across Great Britain, and open up the sport to many more people. This investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country through renovation works, and improved accessibility with new gate-access technology and booking systems.

Councillor Harbour said: “It’s vital that we can provide good quality opportunities for sports and leisure activities for our residents and working with organisations like the LTA to improve facilities is exactly what we need.

“With Wimbledon just around the corner there will be an upsurge in interest in tennis and we want to build on that throughout the year by encouraging people of all ages to pick up a racket and have a go.”

Julie Porter, the LTA’s chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted to be working with Burnley Council to improve its park tennis facilities and provide more opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and get active.

“This investment is part of the UK Government and LTA’s parks tennis project and will mean that courts will be available for people to use for years to come. We will also be working with the council to ensure that the local community has a range of accessible opportunities to get on court and open up our sport to many more people.”

Meanwhile players of all ages and experience are being encouraged to join the Burnley parks local tennis league before 12th June ahead of the launch of the new season – more details are available here

Pictured: The refurbished courts at Scott Park.

Post expires at 8:00am on Friday August 25th, 2023