Plan to revive neglected Blackpool park tennis courts revealed on eve of Wimbledon

Blackpool is poised to serve up new public tennis courts thanks to a £150,000 investment in the sport which is about to be in the spotlight once more as Wimbledon starts.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 24th June 2022, 9:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 11:37 am

The council has had its bid for funding approved as part of a national drive to bring neglected park courts back into use and encourage more people to pick up a racket.

Funding will be used to develop four new courts at Stanley Park and to renovate courts at Cavendish Road Park, Claremont Park and Anchorsholme Park.

A gate system will be introduced enabling people to book courts and for usage to be monitored.

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Neglected tennis courts at Stanley Park

It follows the launch in October 2021 of a £22m government investment into public tennis courts, together with funding of £8.5m from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

The council's recreation arm Active Blackpool is working with the LTA on the scheme.

Coun Bradley Mitchell welcomed the funding and told a meeting of the full council he had first started playing the sport on the courts at Stanley Park.

He said: "Though they were far from in good condition when I first played, it saddens me seeing them in their current state.

Neglected grass tennis courts at Stanley Park

"I am delighted the government and LTA are investing in our tennis courts.

"Tennis has the potential to be a very accessible sport. Once you have a racket and a ball you can keep fit, have fun and make some brilliant friends for little or no cost."

Coun Don Clapham also welcomed the investment and praised the efforts of the late councillor Lily Henderson who had worked with the LTA to organise regular tennis sessions for children at Highfield Park and Cavendish Road Park.

He said: "At Cavendish Road Park we have worked hard with the late Lily Henderson and the LTA on tennis.

"The initiative between Highfield and Bispham has been great. I welcome the money that is going to be invested. It's certainly a long time coming."

A council report says funding "is aimed at bringing public park tennis courts in very poor or unplayable condition back to life for the benefit of their local community.”

"The initiative is also aimed at engaging one million more players in tennis, supporting health and wellbeing outcomes."

In 2019 the LTA placed Blackpool and the Fylde at 23rd in a list of 72 priority locations in England for investment in order to increase participation in tennis.