Thursday, July 12, 2018

News: Rotherham Council courts controversy

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OUT! Rotherham Council has chosen Wimbledon fortnight to begin work on extending the car park at Clifton Park meaning that the tennis courts are out of action for anyone inspired by the greatest tennis tournament in the world.

Rothbiz reported earlier this year that plans were being developed to extend the museum car park onto the existing tennis courts as part of a wider scheme to provide new tennis facilities at the site.

The Council is working with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Sport England to fund, subject to planning consent, five new floodlit tennis courts on the site of the old bowling greens, which have not been used for a number of years due to previous budget cuts.

Tennis became unavailable at Clifton Park on July 2, the same day that play got underway at SW19.

A spokesperson for Rotherham Council, said: "We are extending the car park onto the tennis courts. New tennis courts will be built on one of the disused bowling greens and part of the basketball area.

"If you want to play tennis in the meantime we have opened tennis courts at Bradgate Park which is less than two miles away. These courts can be booked through our partner Parks Tennis in the usual way."

One poster on Facebook said: "The busiest time of year for these courts is Wimbledon fortnight and the few weeks afterwards. Great timing with the school holidays just around the corner."

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The council's capital programme for 2018/19 has a capitalisation of £121,000 set aside for Clifton Park car parking and tennis courts with the money set to come from income generation.

A planning application has not yet been submitted but it is hoped that the new courts will open for summer 2019. However, indications in February were that "work is expected to be carried out within the next 12 to 24 months."

The LTA launched "Transforming British Tennis Together" last year, with the aim of investing £125m in British tennis facilities. The sum is set to be matched by local partners. The largest capital investment programme the LTA has ever undertaken has the goals of doubling the number children playing tennis and doubling the number of times infrequent adults play tennis.

On the edge of Rotherham town centre, the park was once again voted one of the public's favourites in the 2017 People's Choice contest. For the second year running, the popular park was one of just ten in the whole of the UK, and the only one in Yorkshire, to be successful in the awards run by Keep Britain Tidy.

Celebrating 125 years since it opened its doors, Clifton Park Museum highlights the history of the borough. Attracting over 100,000 visitors a year and also a location for wedding ceremonies and events, the museum is in the former Clifton House, built between 1783 and 1784 for Joshua Walker, of the Walker Iron & Steel Works of Masborough, and designed by local architect John Carr.

Clifton Park website

Images: RMBC

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