Third Court Proposal (1)

The following is the body of the proposal delivered to Odiham Parish Council on 13th November 2009.

Also included in the proposal were:

A cover page.
Drawings of the proposed site location.
Letters from each of:
Hart District Council
Hampshire LTA
Odiham and North Warnborough Bowling Club.

A full set of proposal papers were posted on the notice board in the Pavilion on 15th November 2009.

The proposal paper

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. In any case there is no room for a third court immediately adjacent to the existing courts. 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?

The proposal is to build the court on the Beacon Field. The location on the field has 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.

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.

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