Parish Council Questionnaire

The Parish Council are now requesting that responses to their Sport and Leisure Strategy Questionnaire are submitted before June 21st.
If you want to see a third court, TELL THE PARISH COUNCIL.

On the 13th July the following was submitted to the Parish Council: –

Odiham Tennis Club response to the Parish Council’s Sport and Leisure Strategy 2010 Questionnaire

The Parish Council Recreation Grounds Committee first raised the idea of a third court at their meeting on 9th October 1995 – “Councillors suggest that in order to make the proposal (for a new pavilion) more economic and increase potential use, the possibility of incorporating a third court should be considered.”

In April 1997 Neil Osman (Chairman, Recreation Grounds Committee) produced plans showing how three courts might be accommodated on the existing Chamberlain Gardens site and asked the Tennis Club for their opinion on the three options. The Club responded that “the present membership did not justify such an expansion” at that time. Now the membership has 109 adults + 56 juniors , this including people from Dogmersfield, Eversley, Greywell, Long Sutton, Hartley Wintney, South Warnborough, Well, Winchfield and RAF Odiham. The expansion has seen a large demand for court time to satisfy the coaching and league competition needs, with the numbers significantly exceeding the LTA guidelines for a 2-court club; some compromise on the Council’s requirement on court availability for public hire has been inevitable.

In November 2009 the Odiham Tennis Club Proposal for a New Tennis Court in Odiham was submitted to the Parish Council.


Present: Cllrs: Clarke (Chairman), Ball, Fleming, Harris, L Jones, R Jones, Smith: Mrs Taylor (Clerk) and Mrs Sullivan (Deputy Clerk)
Apologies: Cllr Cubbage
Also present: Cllrs: Faulkner, Sheppeck: one member of the press and seven members of the public


A presentation was made by Mr Alistair Allen of the Odiham Tennis Club.

There was discussion and the Tennis Club was asked to consider whether the additional court could be situated next to the two existing courts.

Cllr Clarke proposed that further consideration be given to the proposal and thanked the Tennis Club for their presentation.

At their meeting on February 8th 2010 the Parish Council agreed to set up a working party to consider the development of the Council’s Sports and Leisure Strategy. It was agreed that there was a need to a) consider all the providers in the Parish and b) ascertain the needs and wishes of the residents (Amenity Areas Committee, minute 03/10)

In consideration as to whether the additional court could be situated next to the existing courts, it does remain a less immediate option and a number of Tennis Club members suggested that there could be advantages to such an arrangement. Given that the proposed project could not be advanced until the Parish strategy was established, on March 11th 2010, the Tennis Club agreed that the Parish Council put the existing proposal ‘on hold’. Further debate is obviously needed and it was agreed that a second specification should be prepared in order to clarify the relative pros and cons of the two layouts.

As a consequence the proposal has been revised and is now resubmitted as a response to the OPC Sport and Leisure Strategy 2010 Questionnaire. It restates the desire for a third court in Odiham in support of the Hart District Council Leisure Strategy 2007-2017 [line item FD9 – Financial assistance with Tennis development in Odiham through the local club] to serve Odiham, North Warnborough and the surrounding villages.

The REVISED Proposal for a New Tennis Court in Odiham is appended.


1. The Tennis Facilities at Chamberlain Gardens.
The Parish of Odiham has two excellent public tennis courts at Chamberlain Gardens in Odiham. The courts are on land bequeathed to the Odiham Sports Centre Trust, for whom the Parish Council act as Trustee.
The courts have been considerably improved over recent years. A major refurbishment programme was completed in 2008. This, and earlier projects, were projects undertaken by the Parish Council with the involvement of, and financial input from, the tennis club.
The Odiham Tennis Club and the general public both have use of the facilities. The courts have proved very popular to the point that there is now more demand for court space than the current two courts allow.
This paper explores the basis of the demand for court space and how court space could be provided for the benefit of the wider community.

2. Who uses the Courts?
The Tennis Club has priority use of the present courts for organised events. This priority applies to Club Matches, Club Evenings, Coaching, the Internal Floodlit Winter League and Special Events. At all other times the Parish Court can be booked by members of the public.
Teams represent Odiham in the Basingstoke and the East Hants Leagues. Club times, when members must mix in with other members, occupy two evenings and each Sunday morning each week. Coaching classes, of particular importance to young people in the community run on a Saturday. The coaching is available to all – club members or not.
With these activities requiring both courts there is limited time for general play. The case for a third court was explored in a questionnaire to club members in August/September 2009. There was overwhelming support for the club to invest, in conjunction with the Parish Council, in an additional court.
A stand alone court is considered the option most appropriate to the needs of the wider tennis community. The single court would be more welcoming to the general public as a result of being separated from club sponsored events. The court would also be ideal for junior members who would feel more freedom on the separated court. The big positive, though, would be that there would always be playing opportunities when both of the other courts are in use, which often happens.

3. Where might the court be located?
This proposal is based upon building a stand-alone court on the Beacon Field. The location on the field had been discussed with the Bowling Club and both clubs support a location on the eastern boundary with the court lying north – south as is recommended for tennis courts. However if the Parish Council, as part of its Strategy for Sport and Leisure, concludes that the additional court could best be situated next to the two existing courts then a detailed specification of the work required will need to be prepared with a full costing. This might be significantly different to the estimates that follow.
The court would be built to a similar high standard to that of the existing courts. The court would not have floodlights (they are not deemed to be a cost effective addition) but the court would have a practice mesh built into the main side netting. This is the recommended practice facility which is environmentally friendly and has attractive appearance. It is also of great benefit to juniors and established players alike.

4. How would the Project be managed and funded?
The Parish Council ran a very successful Court Refurbishment Project in 2007/8. The project was completed on time and on budget and brought considerable praise for the Council from the local community and recognition from supporting organisations across a wide area. Residents comment on the attractive situation and appearance of the courts.
The arrangement was a model of cooperative effort between the Council and the community. The tennis club secured funding for over half of the total funding required (and for the improvements to the pavilion and the social area) and the asset value of the facilities was much enhanced.
The same model, as before, is proposed. The expected project price would be financed 50% by the Parish Council but that amount is capped protecting the council against overruns. The balance is underwritten by tennis club members with any monies collected from third parties retained by the tennis members. This acts as an incentive for the Club to be proactive in searching out third party funding. The Tennis Club has funds to support this arrangement.
At the end of the project the Parish Council will have acquired an asset for the community at a cost of not more than half of its book value.
Furthermore the asset is protected by the ongoing usage and day to day supervision provided by the tennis club. Players presence at the courts will provide positive security for the facilities just as they do for the existing courts where the record has been very good.

5. How does the Parish benefit from investment in additional facilities?
The strength of a community is reflected in the facilities that it offers. This project is a forward looking approach to developing the infrastructure of the Parish in sport. The project fits well with making a fitter population, an aim that Hart District Council encourages with the tennis club.
The Parish Council can achieve good value for money with this project. Tennis Club and third party funds can be accessed to provide an asset for the community.
The Parish Council has a good track record for delivering projects with the tennis club. This reputation can be enhanced with the proposed project.
The Parish Council can show that it is creative in finding ways to put its land assets to the benefit of the general community.

6. Costings
The estimated cost of a new court as described is £36,000, now including the mesh practice fence. This figure might be lower in a competitive tender in the present economic environment.
A Parish Council court construction project would not incur VAT charges.
The council contribution, on this basis, would be the lesser of £18,000 and one half of the actual cost.

7. The Proposal
• That the Parish Council consult with the tennis club to determine the specification for a tennis facility suitable for Parish needs;
• That the Parish Council endorse the financial model proposed for a project to construct a tennis court;
• That the Parish Council enters into a contract with an established tennis court contractor to construct a tennis court on the Beacon Field or alongside the existing courts.

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