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Tennis court revamp to see charge for use in Moor Park, Haslam Park and Ashton Park

Posted on - 25th March, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Moor Park, Parks, Preston Council, Preston News, Recreation, Sport
The current tennis court in Moor Park

Charges are set to be introduced to use the tennis courts at three of Preston’s major parks when they reopen after getting upgrades ahead of the peak summer playing season.

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The facilities at Moor Park, Haslam Park and Ashton Park will shortly close for around two months while almost a quarter of a million pounds worth of refurbishment work is carried out.

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Following the revamps, a £4-per-hour fee will be payable from 3pm on weekdays and all day at the weekend. The courts will be free to use between 7am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Free tennis facilities will also remain available within the multi-use games area at Moor Park, close to the observatory, and at the Frenchwood Recreation Ground.

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All ten of the courts being renovated will close at 10pm in order to reduce anti-social behaviour and none of them will be floodlit.

Preston City Council was successful in a bid to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) last year, which has seen it awarded a £217,500 grant, the majority of which will go on resurfacing the six main courts at Moor Park. The remainder will cover the cost of binding the surface and line painting at Haslam Park’s three courts and the two at Ashton Park, as well as installing a new gated access system at all three sites.

A pass code or QR code will be required to gain entry as part of the online booking arrangements that will be introduced.

A proposal approved by cabinet members earlier this month will see the council itself stump up almost £26,000 for safety works including an increase in the height and length of the fence at Moor Park between the courts and the multi-use games area in order to reduce the risk of balls escaping onto the road.

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As part of the LTA grant, the council will enter into agreement with a third party to operate the courts who will also be obliged to deliver a tennis development programme.

A cabinet report in January stated that the charges to be introduced at the facilities represented “good value for money for what could be a team game for up to four players”.

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing Jennifer Mein said that the authority was aiming to “improve the city’s tennis facilities, increase participation and improve the playing experience for residents across Preston”.

She added: “We understand regular users of the tennis facilities have been frustrated for a long time about the condition of the courts, as have we. Now we hope people can be patient a little longer while the courts are out of use, where the future benefits will surely outweigh the inconvenience of the short closures.”

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The trio of facilities will all be closed until the end of May, with Haslam Park and Ashton Park shutting from 27th March and Moor Park from 3rd April.

Income generated by the new operator will be used to cover the cost of annual maintenance, while the council will put the small profit that it expects to make from the arrangements into a reserve to fund the next round of resurfacing work expected to be needed in around 15 years’ time.

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