Anyone for Tennis? Locking up Elmbridge Councils Tennis Courts

Locking up Elmbridge Councils Tennis Courts

There has been a huge amount of anger and disgust at the Residents Association cabinet at Elmbridge Borough Councils decision to lock up 29 tennis courts across the borough with access only available to those willing to pay an annual fee.

The sight of locked up, empty tennis courts across the borough in the best start to a summer in memory and with the school holidays approaching is nothing short of disgusting.

Accusations of greed and corruption have been rife…but the council say this is backed by the LTA so it must be good for tennis, right?

Well, what is good for the LTA doesn’t necessary align with what is good for a community.

We are proudly supporting this petition raised by a concerned local resident:

Judy Murray, Proud Mum of Wimbledon Champion and local resident Andy Murray, supports us and agrees that there shouldn’t be a local tennis tax!

Lets have a little look at some facts, as published by Elmbridge Borough Council.

(all qoutes are taken from original Elmbridge Council documents which you can download at the bottom of this page)

Elmbridge Council very kindly offered a consultation period…’tell us what you think’….

The consultation clearly demonstrated that 68% of respondents would not use the tennis courts if they had to pay – 68% seems a very high percentage of respondents to completely ignore….

But why let public opinion expressed in a public consultation get in the way of a good plan.

So why are they doing it?

Strangely the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) are giving Elmbridge Council £25,000 to pay for the locks to shut you and your families out of the tennis courts.

Don’t take my word for it:

How is that promoting grass roots tennis?

The sinister part here is the proviso that the money will only be given by the LTA to Elmbridge Council if the gates are all locked up before the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament starts….

Surely this has gone through the proper channels, reviewed and tested…?

We hear that Elmbridge Council procured £77,000 of community money to start a trial. If you don’t know the CIL is a fund that developers pay to the council so that the council can put it to good use in the community. Anyway, back to the £77,000 the council took from the CIL fund for a trial:

With 68% of respondents rejecting the charges surely this would the end of their ludicrous partnership with the LTA…..

It turns out they didn’t want to do the pilot after all, it seems that……guess what…..Elmbridge Residents STILL don’t want to pay to play tennis and would rather use the free courts!

So the pilot was canceled after consultation with Elmbridge Councils LTA paymasters.

Not sure where that £77,000 of community fund money has gone but I’m sure its safe.

And interesting to note that LTA ‘insight’ states that any free tennis facilities must be further than 15 minutes away – I’m assuming this is why ALL Elmbridge Courts are being locked down at the same time to stop families from finding free courts elsewhere.

So, could there possibly be a financial angle here that hasn’t been mentione

We happen to know that the projected income from the tennis courts open and free to use by the community is £3,500 (assuming this is from teachers/coaches?)

BUT, with these charges the income will be over £26,000

Why are those figures important? You may remember a bit of a furore earlier in the year when the Residents Association, shortly after getting the keys to Civic Centre, got all excited and gave themselves a 12.8% allowance rise.

Well this amounted to around an extra £30,000 stress on the councils budget, and now they are driving through measures to claw back most of that against the wishes of 86% of people who responded to their public consultation!

But you cry, maybe it is all in the greater good and to help promote tennis – our belief is the LTA are throwing money at Elmbridge Council to either:

  1. Stop the casual player using facilities
  2. Stop families using local tennis facilities
  3. Secure public funded facilities for ‘serious’ tennis players only
  4. Secure public funded tennis facilitates for LTA events

Whilst we are completely politically independent we cant help but re-engineer the Labour Party campaign phrase – this is clearly ‘For the Few, Not the Many’. A return to tennis as an ‘elite’ sport.

Please help to reject these unfair charges.

Please help return the tennis courts back to the community and support this petition:

Park Tennis Courts Management Proposal

Tennis Courts Survey Results September 2016 V1
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