Bournemouth to lease outdoor tennis courts

Bournemouth Council has confirmed that outdoor tennis courts at Swanmore Gardens and Winton Recreation Ground will be run by privately operated West Hants Club from now on, despite concern from local tennis clubs.

Brian Boyce, Club Treasurer and Head Coach of Winton Tennis Club, said: “The West Hants goes too fast and we cannot change it. The thing is still on going. We will have to negotiate with them.”

The council is going to lease all local public outdoor tennis courts to private operators, in bid to cut the park’s budget, but West Hants Club is the only company submitting a tender.

There are eight outdoor courts in Bournemouth and one of them at Shelley Park has been operated by West Hants Club. The Shelley Park scheme charges families £25 a year with unlimited usage of courts and is claimed to be successful. Park Coordinator of West Hants Club, Chris Cant, said: “I don’t have a specific figure, but we have definitely got more people playing tennis.”

The rest of the seven courts, located at Knyveton Gardens, Meyrick Park, Moordown recreation ground, Redhill Park, Seafield Gardens, Swanmore Gardens and Winton recreation ground, are following Shelley Park.

According to Mr Cant, West Hants Club will run these courts in the same way and will consider free trials for newcomers.

Outdoor public tennis courts are only charged in summer and make no money for the local council. The council said they do not want to close the sites but has no money for repairing and maintenance. Contract Officer Lawrence Robson said: “The council will receive no money from the project and West Hants. We are not investigating.”

Main image: Martin Borgman

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