South Swindon Parish Council and the National Tennis Association (NTA) have today announced a partnership to manage the newly refurbished Quarry Road Tennis Courts in Old Town.
The NTA will take on the management of the courts for a 12-year term from June, paying rent to the parish council which will be used as a sink fund for ongoing maintenance and eventual refurbishment in 10 to 12 years’ time.
The courts had been managed by Swindon Borough Council until earlier this year, when the courts and recreation area off Quarry Road were leased to the parish council for 99 years.
South Swindon Parish Council chair and Old Town councillor Neil Hopkins said: “It’s fantastic to see the tennis courts receive a much needed makeover. The site was in a real state of neglect and disrepair, so the investment is a welcome boost to the local community.
"The NTA have done a fantastic job at the St Mark’s Tennis Courts, and we can’t wait to work with them here at the Quarry Road Courts.
"They have a great track record of involving the communities around their sites and improving the access to tennis in the area.”
NTA director Ed Nieburg said: "We are thrilled to partner with South Swindon Parish Council to manage the Quarry Road Tennis Courts.
"This collaboration represents a significant opportunity to enhance the local tennis facilities and promote accessibility to the sport within parks. We look forward to working closely with the community and delivering on our mission of fostering long-term sustainability in tennis."
The National Tennis Association was established in 2004 and is the leading tennis management and coaching operator in the UK. It is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company which is committed to reinvesting any surplus income into tennis programmes and facilities to enable long-term sustainability.
Since 2014 the NTA has been managing the Swindon Tennis Centre, based at St Marks Recreation Ground in Pinehurst. Since it began running the courts, the NTA says, the site has become very popular, with over 1,500 household members and an extensive programme of activities including community coaching and organised matches with Swindon Tennis Club.
With the NTA taking on the management of the Quarry Road Tennis Courts, players will be able to sign up to Swindon Tennis and have the ability to either play St Marks Tennis Courts or at Quarry Road.
Members of the public can pay and play for court hire or sign up to one of two membership options to play and access activities all year round, starting at £45 a year.
The NTA will also be working with local schools and community groups to get young people into sport through free community sessions. This also follows the Lawn Tennis Association's intention to engage with local communities through the Free Parks Tennis project, which aims to improve local park tennis sites and ensure that the local communities around the courts have a range of accessible opportunities to play tennis.
The tennis courts at Quarry Road have been in a near unplayable state for many years. The new investment is promised to lift them to a very high standard for courts of this kind, and is expected to dramatically increase the number of players using the courts.
The renovation work includes a new surface, new nets and gates for all three courts. An investment of £94,000 has been made in the courts through the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, with South Swindon Parish Council contributing a further £46,000.
Julie Porter, chief operating officer at the LTA, said: “We are delighted to be working with South Swindon Parish Council and NTA to improve their 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 closely with South Swindon Parish Council and NTA to ensure that the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court, and open up our sport to many more people.”
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