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CLERK'S BRIEFING - TENNIS COURTS
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1. Status.  The tennis courts form part of the Charitable Trust – Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust.  The Trust has delegated maintenance of the courts to Sedlescombe Parish Council.

 

2. Report

·Surface

The courts were last resurfaced in spring 2000.  Previously the courts had been resurfaced every ten years or so – the previous resurfacing had been in 1989. The 2000 work was carried out by Leisure Surfaces Ltd. of Bexhill at a cost of £7060.  A further £1668 was spent on 2 coats of Acrylic Colour Spray and the painting of lines.  The anti-slip colour spray was not expected to last the full life of the surface and the Council had included a requirement in the Tennis Club licence for them to be responsible for replacement as it had been added at the Club’s request.  However, the Club’s move to the Golf Club Courts in 2005 ended the agreement.  Based on previous resurfacings, the courts could last a further three years and be needing resurfacing in the spring of 2011.  However, it is better if the surface is laid during the warmer weather and, therefore, summer 2010  or 2011 might be better options.

 

In spring 2005, the Parish Council arranged for the courts to have the moss removed and the courts power-washed at the cost of £350.  This left some loose stones on the surface which were swept off

 

In 2006, it was noted that the edges were crumbling but, as this did not affect the playing surface, no action was taken. 

 

From time to time, the courts have been swept of leaves during the winter months and weeds have been removed from the perimeter either manually or by chemical means.

 

Since the 2000 resurfacing, the courts have not been flooded nor has there been prolonged winter frost both of which could contribute to a breakdown of the playing surface.

 

Currently, the playing surface appears quite good but there is one particularly mossy corner near to the river outside the main playing area. 

·Fencing

At the same time as the 2000 resurfacing, the Sedlescombe Tennis Club renewed the surrounding fencing.  With the loss of the Tennis Club, responsibility has reverted to the Charity.

 

Some remedial work has been undertaken by the Council following vandalism and there is currently some damage to the netting on one of the gates which needs attention. 

·Nets

Currently, one of the nets has a hole in that needs repairing. 

·Use

Between 2000 and spring 2005, the courts were let to Sedlescombe Tennis Club on a Parish Council Licence with payment being made by the Club.  The courts were also let to the public by the Council in accordance with the charitable status of the land. 

 

For the last three years since 2005 when the Club left, there has been public use only. 

 

Use is virtually confined to the summer months.

 

Since April 2007, the courts have been available free of charge and the Finance Committee agreed that uses other than tennis would not be stopped.  The decision to allow free access was made because of the damage that was being caused to the fencing by people either climbing over or cutting through in order to gain free access.  The courts were also being used by young men kicking a football back and forth across the nets.  Local people have told the Council that they appreciate the free use and that the courts are being well used by all age groups.  No complaints were received by the Council during the year.

 

There had been some interest a few years ago from the Sedlescombe Rangers who would like to use the courts for winter training.  However, the surrounding fences would need strengthening and the surface needed for football is not the same as that needed for netball and tennis.

 

In 2007, Rother District Council invited parish councils to submit proposals for play provision projects which could be considered for funding through the Big Lottery Fund’s Children’s Play Programme.  Sedlescombe Parish Council submitted a project for turning the tennis courts into a multi-sports area and new fencing to allow one tennis court and one 5-a-side footpath pitch.  Between the courts and the playground, installation of several pieces of “senior” equipment was proposed.  The capital estimate of this work was £50,000.  The proposal was not adopted by Rother.

 

In 2007, the newly-formed Sedlescombe Netball Club approached the Parish Council asking if they could use the courts for practising.  The Clerk/RFO met members on site and subsequently, the Council agreed that the Clerk should make the necessary arrangements.  The Club set about raising funds for the lining of the courts and received £100 grant from Sedlescombe Societies Association. They would like to use the courts from May to late September.

 

In order to get an estimate of the cost of adding netball markings to both courts, at the beginning of February 2008, one netball club member met the contractor who carried out the last resurfacing and he quoted £450 for the lining.  However, he said the moss would need treating at the river end as the paint will not adhere.  To clean that end and renew the anti-slip paint there, he said would cost £120.  This would include making good any gouge holes they can see.  However, he suggested that the Council might like to carry out an overhaul of the whole courts prior to adding the lines.  The overhaul should include stabilising the edges and a full re-paint in anti-slip paint to prolong longevity.

·Funds.  Funds of £5,000 are held in a tennis courts fund.

·Options

1. To plan to resurface the courts in the 2010/11 or 2011/12 season and, until then, to take no action.   The cost is likely to be at least £10,000.  Consultation would probably be needed with residents to ensure that they agreed that such a large sum should be spent on the courts when their current use is limited.

 

2. To have a small part of the courts cleaned this spring ie 2008/9 and the netball court lines added.  The cost is expected to be £120 for just the corner with the markings paid for by the Netball Club.  The Club expects to be ready by mid-May to contribute the equivalent cost of the line-painting. Hopefully, this would last for three years before undertaking the work at 1 above.  Council to decide whether the cost of treatment should be taken from the tennis courts fund or from general Council funds.

 

3. To arrange an overhaul of the courts this spring ie 2008/9 with the edges stabilised, moss  treatment and power wash and a full re-paint in anti-slip paint with sports markings added for tennis and netball.  The cost might allow for it to be met entirely from the tennis courts fund but no money would be left for proper resurfacing.  The surface would be expected however to last longer than the 2010/11 or 2011/12 season.

 

4. To consider trying to get funding for a multi-sports surface and new fencing similar to the project submitted to Rother last year.    This would mean a comprehensive consultation procedure with residents and a good case made for increased usage once complete.  Rother District Council is expected to include MUGAs in their new strategy.

·Advice

Some tennis court maintenance companies offer free advice on condition of courts.  However, this can be expected to be biased towards having work done rather than leaving it for the time being. 

·Safety.  Risk assessment is an important part of managing any Council amenity.

 

  Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/RFO, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508
sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk
www.sedlescombe.org.uk
5 March 2008