As Wimbledon is underway, Blackpool is chosen as a priority area by the Lawn Tennis Association

Representatives of Blackpool Council have held initial talks with tennis chiefs about building an indoor tennis centre as it emerged the Fylde coast is being targetted as a location for new facilities.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 3:26 pm
A CGI image of the proposed sports village at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

The sport's ruling body, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), has placed Blackpool and the Fylde at 23rd in a list of 72 priority locations in England for investment in order to increase participation.

Indoor tennis courts are among the options already being considered for the new sports village which will be part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, but development will depend on funding including from external bodies.

Any investment from the LTA would be provided in the form of an interest free strategic loan scheme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A CGI image of the proposed sports village at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

It is expected to put £125m into the scheme nationally, with match-funding from partners.

Coun Maria Kirkland, cabinet member for community cohesion and leisure on Blackpool Council, said: “Sports and leisure business advisers LK2, have been in initial discussions with the LTA on behalf of Blackpool Council, about the outline proposals put forward for the sports village at the enterprise zone and they are keen to see how the plans progress for the site.

“The council is currently developing a detailed design and business case for the project and are committed to providing modern, new facilities for the local community.

"Any additional funding stream, such as the new scheme announced by the Lawn Tennis Association, would be a very welcome addition to support and deliver the ambitious plans for the enterprise zone.

“LK2 continue to hold preliminary discussions with various sports governing bodies covering the different activities planned for the site and therefore lots of financial factors will need to be taken into consideration that will affect how the scheme takes shape and the mix of uses.

"The council’s focus will be to maximise any opportunities that come our way to provide top class facilities for all the sporting clubs and their members in the local area.”

An outline planning application for the first phase of the enterprise zone including the sports village has been submitted to the council.

The LTA has set out its priority areas for indoor courts after carrying out detailed analysis of potential demand through the country. A similar exercise is also being undertaken for investment in park tennis facilities.

Scott Lloyd, LTA chief executive, said: “More indoor facilities across England, Scotland and Wales are absolutely crucial to our ambition to open up tennis to many more people."

He added he was "looking forward to us working with local authorities and partners in all of our target locations across the whole of Britain."