Plans for Marlborough Tennis Club’s new home will be on show at Marlborough Golf Club between 5.00pm and 7.00pm on Friday, September 5, when there will be a chance to talk about the drawings and find out how tennis could develop in the town.
Marlborough Tennis Club’s proposal is designed to provide an exciting and unique facility offering affordable tennis for people in the Marlborough community, either as a club member or using ‘Play and Play’ access.
The site is within easy walking distance from the town centre and adds to the community of sports clubs using the Common.
The Club has some 60 adult and 80 junior members. And they have over 100 juniors in their coaching programmes - as well as adults.
Without a permanent home the Club has to use part-time coaches and fit their coaching around the availability of the Marlborough College courts. And they have limited toilet facilities and no shelter from the weather, which makes, as they put it so politely, “…the coaching of juniors more challenging. All this will change.”
The Club hopes that some of the many Marlborough residents who now have to travel to surrounding villages with dedicated tennis facilities, such as Pewsey, Ramsbury, Burbage and Great Bedwyn, will soon stay and play in Marlborough.
Marlborough Golf Club has agreed to let the Club use the old practice area for playing tennis.
Aware of the environmentally sensitive areas surrounding Marlborough, the Club has taken a long time to complete the final design of their new facility. The courts have been carefully positioned to take maximum advantage of the natural screening: ”We have taken a great deal of care and received and taken a lot of advice before finalising these proposals.”
This year’s Junior tennis festival on the Marlborough College courts – supported by funding from the Marlborough Sports Forum - attracted more than 250 eight and nine year olds: “It was a huge success and demonstrates that many of our young people would love to play the sport given the opportunity.”
Work will start on Monday to construct six new tennis courts at St John’s, Dr Patrick Hazlewood, headmaster of the Marlborough school, announced today (Friday).
The tennis courts, sited on land between the school and the new housing development on the site of the old St John’s Upper School, are expected to be completed and ready for use early in June.
The project will cost the school £250,000, money which has been raised through a range of activities and donations organised by the St John’s Foundation Trust.
Thanking parents for their support, Dr Hazlewood said: “The tennis courts will be an enormous benefit to students at St John’s. We will also be making the courts available for use by community groups during evenings, weekends and school holidays, giving a real boost to the provision of sports facilities in the town.
“My huge thanks to the many parents and friends of St John’s who have donated money to help us achieve this project. I am also very grateful to the members of the St John’s Family and Friends Association, who have raised £15,000 towards the project, including £10,000 for additional student lockers which will be installed over the coming weeks.”
It was originally hoped that the tennis courts would be completed at the same time as the new school, which opened in December 2009, but this proved impossible, explained business director Barry Worth.
“Building the new St John’s has been an expensive project, achieved without the backing of any central government funding. We paid for the new £26,500,000 building through a combination of land sale, fundraising, and a loan to cover the final cost of furniture and IT.”
“The money we initially set aside for the Phase 2 project to complete the tennis and netball courts and artificial grass pitch was eroded when the new building came in 1.5 per cent, some £500,000, over budget”.
The tennis courts are being built by Sports Facility experts McArdle Sport Tec Ltd of Wallingford, who aim to complete the project in two months.
The next phase of building at St John’s will be the completion of the Phase 2 plans, which includes an all-weather sports pitch. Fundraising at the school continues and £300,000 is still required through grants and donations towards this project.