Should public tennis courts in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth be managed by private operators? Council wants to hear your views

Fees could be introduced at those courts which are currently free to use

Tennis players across Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth are being asked to give their views on proposals to appoint a private operator to manage the towns' public courts - which could mean that fees are introduced at those courts which are currently free to use.

Following its recent upgrade of the tennis courts at Victoria Park and Christchurch Gardens in Leamington and considering its planned upgrade of further courts in the next few years, Warwick District Council is proposing to appoint either a single or several operators to manage the playing surfaces.

The authority says this could "widen the opportunities for local people to take part in this much-loved sport".

One of the upgraded public tennis courts at Christchurch Gardens in Leamington.

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The council owns 21 tennis courts across the district at Victoria Park, Christchurch Gardens and St Nicholas Park, in Warwick and Abbey Fields in Kenilworth.

The authority says that, as part of a wider review of its tennis, athletics and football facilities, it has been working with the Lawn Tennis Association to "understand the best way to improve the tennis facilities and the options available to encourage more people to try the sport, as well as ensuring that the courts are financially sustainable".

Councillor Liam Bartlett, cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, said: “The recent success of Britain’s Emma Raducanu has no doubt inspired a new generation to take up the sport.

“At present, there are no organised activities on the tennis courts at St Nicholas Park, Abbey Fields or Christchurch Gardens.

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One of the upgraded public tennis courts at Victoria Park in Leamington.

"The proposal to have all venues operated by one or more experienced organisations means that a range of activities including taster sessions, coaching, holiday clubs, walking and disability sessions will be able to take place, making the sport accessible for everyone.

“This will enable the courts at all of the sites to be used to their best potential, increasing people’s physical activity, introducing more people to this wonderful game and allowing people access to a range of activities including coaching right across the district.”

Charges are already in place for the courts at at Victoria Park and St Nicholas Park. but the council is also proposing to introduce fees for the use of Abbey Fields iand Christchurch Gardens.

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The council has said: "The fees would be affordable, and the income generated would be used to fund the future maintenance and development of tennis activities at the Council’s venues; some concessionary charges and free sessions will be retained.

"At present, the council is consulting on the principle of charging - the exact fees will be determined at a later stage."

Cllr Bartlett added: “The current level of income received from the courts at Victoria Park and St Nicholas Park does not cover the basic ongoing costs of day-to-day maintenance or future upgrade work, such as resurfacing.

"By introducing fees at all courts, we’ll be able to ensure that tennis provision in the area is sustainable into the future with all courts having the same quality on offer, and hopefully Warwick District will be able to produce the next world champion.”

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A consultation exercise has already been undertaken with sports clubs and now residents are being invited to submit their thoughts on the proposals on the council’s website until Sunday October 24.

To view the proposals and have your say visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/tennisconsultation