A report on the future of public tennis courts managed by Burnley Council is set to go before councillors this week.
The council currently manages 11 courts at Queen’s Park; Park Road, Padiham; Scott Park; and Ightenhill Park. The courts are not bookable and are free to use.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has surveyed the courts and identified that more than £66,000 capital investment is needed to bring all the courts up to a good standard. The LTA will make this investment provided the council commits to a plan to help sustain the improvements.
The draft plan recommends that the council continues to offer free use of the courts at certain times each day, with a fee to use the courts at other times. Access would be managed by lockable gates on the courts and an online booking system. The booking system will mean that people will be able to turn up and know that a court is available to them, rather than finding them taken.
Burnley Leisure would manage the booking system and also work with a national operator to provide coaching sessions, as well as promoting tennis to help increase participation.
For those sessions which are not free of charge, it is proposed to make the fee £3 per session, with a season ticket costing £35. The money raised will be used to make the tennis courts self-sustainable by covering future running costs.
Councillor Maggie Lishman, the council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “We’re planning to continue to have some free use as well as keeping any charge as low as possible. That way, tennis facilities stay accessible to everyone whilst, at the same time, making sure there is funding to keep the standard of the courts good.
“By doing this we will also be able to access LTA funding to improve the quality of our courts. Similar changes elsewhere in the country have seen an increase in the number of people playing tennis.”
The report will be discussed by the council’s scrutiny committee before going to its executive will make a decision when it meets on 14th June 2022.