Tennis courts getting an ace new look

Witney Lawn Tennis Club chairman Chris Pyne on the resurfaced courts

Witney Lawn Tennis Club chairman Chris Pyne on the resurfaced courts

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

TENNIS courts in Witney are finally being resurfaced after a six-year wait.

Witney Lawn Tennis Club has complained to its landlord Witney Town Council over the state of its courts at West Witney Sports Ground since 2007.

Club chairman Chris Pyne said the club has a legal contract with the town council in which the courts should be resurfaced every 12 years.

This should have happened in 2008, but the council on professional advice repatched and repainted the courts.

Work costing about £27,000 finally started last month and play should resume in the first week of June, with Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron already invited for a match.

Mr Pyne said: “They were very slippery and it jeopardised our club.

“We have coaching sessions for 150 children each week and if the courts aren’t usable it affects the incomes of the coaches. Now they will be better and it’s a big benefit to Witney.

“David Cameron is a big tennis player and he wrote a letter urging the town council to do whatever it could to help.

“We’ve invited him to come down and he said he is keen to arrange a date to come and play.”

The club, which has about 160 adult and junior members, rents the four courts at the sports ground off Burford Road from the council, which has a duty to maintain them.

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Mr Pyne said they were cracked and had poor grip, with other clubs refusing to play there due to it being dangerously slippery.

He said they'd flooded because of poor drainage and the club withheld £6,000 in rent until the council, which had been contemplating whether to sell the land for development, agreed to the work in December.

He praised the current council, which has been in place since 2011, for being more “enthusiastic” about completing the work.

Mr Pyne added: “It shows the commitment of the council to actually do something for the sporting facilities in Witney.”

The town council’s leisure and recreation committee member Ben Woodruff said: “The fact the council has committed to resurfacing the courts is a step in the right direction.

“Hopefully we can build on that and if we can improve the sports facilities in the town it could be one of the council’s best achievements.”

The town council’s facilities manager Claire Swan said: “There’s been different policies with the sports ground.

“Until the council could decide whether it was selling the land or keeping it, they wouldn’t commission a massive amount of work, but now it wants the sports club to remain there.

“They agreed the work on the condition the club paid its rent up to date.”

An open day is being planned for Sunday, June 29.

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