Tennis Courts Refurbishment

 

Concern has been raised regarding the newly introduced system for booking and charging for use of the borough’s tennis courts. See here for the full report.

However, we had reached a point where the borough needed to make a decision about how to secure the long-term future of park tennis courts and how to encourage more and different people to take exercise through playing tennis.

For over fifteen years, the courts have been allowed to deteriorate. The estimated cost of bringing the 12 most popular courts up to standard is £134,000 with a yearly refurbishment cost of £1,200 per court.  The cost of bringing all the courts up to standard, would be significantly greater and the yearly refurbishment cost would be £34,800.

The borough’s choice was:

  • do nothing and allow the courts to deteriorate even more
  • pay all upgrading costs from council tax and maintain free access to the courts at all times (and take away funds from other much needed projects)
  • raise the level of council tax for all residents
  • charge for use – with concessions for those in receipt of means-tested benefit

The borough charges for all sports: for example, badminton, swimming, football and squash. It would be difficult to single out tennis as the only sport that was free.

Different charging regimes will produce different effects, so the borough has to be clear about what it wants to achieve and charge accordingly.  The choices include:

  • maximize usage from whatever source;
  • steer particular types of user (old or young, frequent or casual);
  • maximize borough revenue; or
  • or any of the above in combination.

Your councillors unanimously, drawing on public health evidence, have chosen a charging and booking package which has worked successfully in other boroughs and which is designed to widen the range of people using the public tennis courts. This includes both annual membership at £36 a year for a family of five for frequent users and a pay as you go system for casual users. We do not yet have differentiation in charge levels to reflect the variability of demand at different times of the day, or the week, or of the year. With the current system it could be possible to have very low charges at off peak times. This would be part of any review undertaken following the experience in use.

Apart from revenue, one of the advantages of the new system is that people may book a court in advance and therefore know they have a court for when they arrive. They will also know, one assumes, that anyone already using the court has overstayed their booking.  The changeover would be rather similar to what occurs currently at the Xcel centre for those playing squash or badminton

If you want to read the report that was drafted by the borough staff for consideration by the cabinet and that was recommended by the cabinet for the approval by the full council – it is here.  If you want to read the full consultation report taking views from 196 respondents to the council’s on-line survey – it is here.

If you want to see the webcast of the short debate around the introduction of tennis court charges it is here – from 48 minutes.  You will see that there were no objections to the proposals.

Previous blog on tennis courts.

Anyone for Tennis?

There are 29 public tennis courts maintained by the borough at twelve sites  These are currently available free of charge.  There was charging until 2001 but the cost of collection began to outweigh the court fees.  Whilst the courts are generally in reasonable condition and used to some extent, the new Liberal Democrat/Residents administration believes that more could be done to ensure people take up the challenge to lead more healthy lives and part of that is to facilitate an increase in tennis participation across Elmbridge.

From May 2017 the borough will introduce an on-line booking system – supported by the borough’s call centre service for those without access to the internet.  The courts will be made secure and the booking system will allow people access once they have paid.

The plan is supported by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) which is providing funding, assisting with the tennis development plan, communications plan and high profile tennis campaign to promote activity at the public courts.

Charging

There will be two simple payment options, both of which will provide good value for money when compared with the cost of other sports activities.

Family membership.  At £36 (up to 5 people living at the same address) and could be transferred from one family member to another and renewed annually.  Once the annual payment had been made, all subsequent court bookings are free of charge.  Members will be able to book up to seven days in advance and play up to two hours every day across all borough venues.

Pay & Play.  For £5 (£2.50 per court per hour for concessions linked to the More card) customers will be able to book a court three days in advance.

There will also be preferred coaching scheme to deliver a high quality, inclusive tennis programme for all ages and abilities across the borough’s courts to encourage greater participation. The successful coaching providers would be appointed through a formal competitive procurement process and would be required to hold and maintain LTA accreditation for the duration of the licence period.

Xcel Free Family Open Day

Xcel Leisure ComplexSixteen local teams will compete for the Elmbridge Cup,  in support of Sparks, the Elmbridge Mayor’s charity.

The Barclays Premier League trophy will be on display at Xcel Leisure Centre on 18 July from 9am to 4pm.

Free fun activities will be available all day including trampolining, badminton, soft play, swimming and a big ‘Aerobathon’. There will also be a BBQ from 12pm – 3pm.

For more information visit the Elmbridge website.

Shout! For Some Summer Fun for Your Children

Shout! kids websiteWith the holidays only two weeks away, now is the time to book some summer fun for your young ones while they are off from school.

Shout! Holiday Activities have a limited number of places left on the week-long Ready! Set! Shout! sports course for 5 to 13 year olds from Monday, 28 July to Friday, 1 August and the Shakespeare in The Park drama course for 10 to 16 year olds from Monday 11 to Friday 15 August.

If your children are sporty, there are still some spaces on the following courses:

  • Cycle Skills workshops for 4 to 12 year olds on Monday 4 and 11 August
  • Totstennis sessions for 3 to 5 year olds and Tennis4fun (for 5to 8 year olds) starting on Monday 4 and 11 August

There is also availability on the following fun and exciting full-day workshops:

For children who like all types of music and dancing:

  • Make a Music Video in a day for 9 to 13 year olds – Thursday 31 July
  • Drumming Day for 5 to 8 year olds in the morning and 9 to 13 year olds in the afternoon –  Monday 4 August
  • Road to Brazil for 5 to 8 year olds who love football and dancing – Friday 8 August
  • Twinkle Toes for 5 to 7 year olds – Friday 15 August
  • Let’s learn to Bollywood Dance  for  8 to 13 year olds – Friday 22 August

 For adventurous kids looking for action and thrills:

  • Outdoor Adventure Team Challenge for 5 to 8 year olds on Thursday 7 August
  • Water Mania for 11 to 15 year olds – Thursday 21 August
  • Paintballing for 10 to 15 year olds Thursday 26 August
  • Pit Stop Scalextric for 5 to 12 year olds – Wednesday 27 August

 Budding chefs will be cooking a storm in the kitchen with Ready! Steady! Cook! (for 9 to 13 year olds) on Thursday 19 August.

Call 01372 474634 to book or click here for the brochure.  The holiday activities are running from Monday 28 July to Friday 29 August.

Weyfarers awarded Grant from CIL

Weyfarers websiteSubject to consultation, the Weybridge Local Spending Board for CIL has allocated £3,750 in matched funding to Weyfarers Rowing Club based at the confluence of the Wey and the Thames, hard by Thames Lock.

The award, subject to consultation, would be the first grant offer in Weybridge under CIL arrangements.

If you would like to join the club to make the most of the new facilities do so – places are already filling up fast.

If you or your group have suggestions for improving Weybridge infrastructure then go here for an application form or you can contact me.

Vandals Flooding

Weybridge VandalsWeybridge Vandal’s grounds were severely flooded and the borough hardship fund came to the rescue.

The borough continues support for flood victims.  Local businesses, community organisations and residents across Elmbridge have been receiving support from the borough to help with the damage caused by the flooding earlier this year. The borough is continuing to offer support through its hardship fund, and will welcome further applications from those still struggling to recover from the floods.

The hardship fund is able to compensate for uninsured loss as well as covering other costs caused by the severe flooding this year.

Weybridge Vandals is a community amateur sports club who suffered extraordinary damage to their grounds on Desborough Island. Their rugby and cricket pitches were submerged for most of January and February, and as the water began to recede the ground was left with debris and river silt and much of the grass had died off.  This meant that the pitches needed to be treated for contamination, vertically drained, top dressed and reseeded to get them back into playing order again.

John Sillwood, Secretary of Weybridge Vandals explained: “The storms and floods this winter were the worst in living memory. While we had insurance cover for the clubhouse, the grounds are not easy to insure. We were very grateful for the timely help from the Council’s Hardship Fund which gave us some cash to start the ball rolling.”

The Vandals also received emergency funding from Sport England and the English Cricket Board. As a result, the cricket season was able to start on schedule this May. The rugby season will also be returning as normal in September.

The borough encourages anyone that has suffered a loss like this to apply to the hardship fund.  You can find out more about the fund and how to apply here

Rollerskiing Is Coming To Elmbridge This Winter

In this part of the country, snow is a rare occurrence and never stays long enough for anybody to pursue skiing for any real length of time. For those who love skiing or are looking into starting a fun and exciting sport without having to travel to snow resorts, rollerskiing might be the ideal solution.

Rollerskiing is country skiing without the snow – using wheeled skis, and skiing boots and poles. It is suitable for all levels and abilities and comes packed with fun whether you are looking for a sport to relax or want to be a bit more competitive.

A new 6-week course will start at Brooklands Park in Weybridge on Monday, 6 January. It is aimed at 11 to 24 year olds but adult beginners are also welcome to join in the fun. There will be several sessions adapted to the various participants:
11-14 year olds – 4:30
14-17 year olds – 6:00
18-24 year olds – 7:30
Adult beginners – 7:30
The cost for the course starts at £30 for the 11 to 24 year olds. It is run by a professional coach.
Book or get further information, email flic@rollerski.co.uk or call the sports development team on 01372 474638.