Sports funding: Cash announced for tennis courts in six parts of Calderdale - but it could mean gated access

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Tennis courts in six areas across Calderdale could be about to get an upgrade in a bid to get more people playing.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has identified the borough as an area where it believes the number of tennis players can be increased and £165,000 is being offered to improve local courts.

There are currently 20 council-owned tennis courts across eight sites in Calderdale and courts at six of these sites have been identified as most in need of improvements.

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These are at Centre Vale Park at Todmorden, Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge, Holmfield Recreation Ground in Halifax, Millfold Recreation Ground and Soyland Tennis Club, Mixenden Park in Halifax and Shelf Hall Park.

Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge.Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge.
Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge.

Improvements would include resurfacing, replacing nets and posts, and repainting.

The work would also mean new fencing and new gates installed so that players have to pre-book so they can access a pin to let them onto the courts.

The council says the LTA has found this kind of gated access to courts has “been shown to increase participation and enhance the experience for users. For example, when the system was introduced in Manchester, site use more than doubled”.

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A spokesperson for the council said: “The operation of Calderdale courts in this way would provide an opportunity to simplify the booking process.

"It would also secure their long-term future, making the sport affordable and accessible with a percentage of free court time, low-cost pay-and-play, and affordable community coaching programmes.”

If Cabinet approve the proposed improvements at a meeting on December 12 and accept the LTA funding, further consultation would take place with park groups and tennis clubs.

Any work would take place throughout 2023.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn, said: “Tennis is a great way to keep fit and by improving the facilities available we’d also be supporting our Active Calderdale mission to help people move more often.

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“We’ve already seen an increase in participation levels at Brighouse following improvements at the site last year. With the help of this dedicated funding, we hope to replicate this across the borough and bring facilities back into use, to give more people, more opportunities to take part in this sport.”