More tennis courts for South Rugby?
Dunchurch village hall and sports-field needs £150,000+vat to build two all-weather, multi-sport tennis courts. And have you heard of pickleball? No? Read on...
Dunchurch resident Mike Judge MBE told the annual parish assembly on 28th April 2021 about plans to put tennis courts on the village sports field.
Mr Judge is chair of the Dunchurch Tennis Club and said the village hall and sports field has permission to build two floodlit, all-weather courts plus a disabled toilet and small store to the left (as you enter through the gate).
“We conducted a village survey prior to the planning application and around 150 people expressed an interest in playing tennis in the village. There are no courts otherwise available in the village. There is a single court in Bilton,” said Mr Judge.
A spokesperson for Dunchurch Park Hotel said the tennis courts there were not currently in a condition to be used and were quite slippery.
“Normally the courts are used by residents [of the hotel] and by local people for a small fee,” she said. “We are probably planning to do something with the courts in the summer.”
Originally the village hall and sports field had applied for approval to build three courts, which was refused in February 2008. The decision for that application (R08/0102/PACA) said it would be ‘un-neighbourly’ and that the application didn’t give enough detail on potential noise levels, illumination or hours of use.
However, the application was changed and re-submitted, and in 2013 approval was given for two courts to be built on the sports field (R12/2197), to the left of the car park and next to Rugby Road.
But without enough funding, the planning permission expired in 2016 before the courts could be built. The permission would have to be renewed.
Mr Judge said: “We have been unable to raise the necessary funds to finance the project. We are hoping that a large grant from Rugby Borough Council of [section] 106 money will be forthcoming to compensate in some small way for the thousands of houses and warehouses that will surround the village as the Local Plan Developers implement their projects.”
Section 106 money is funding agreed by a developer for community purposes as part of a larger development. It can be used to fund playgrounds, schools and more, and can be enforced through an injunction. Find out more from the Local Government Association.
Mr Judge said it could cost up to £150,000 plus vat for the courts and lighting.
In the past Dunchurch Tennis Club has put on Easter coaching sessions together with Bilton Grange School and Wednesday night ‘Rusty racquets’ sessions in the summer.
Mr Judge also says the courts could be used for netball and ‘pickleball’.
“We anticipate support for the sport [of pickleball] in the village. Pickleball is an American ‘invented’ sport which has huge support in the US amongst young and old alike. I had my last game at 79, three months after two new knees. It is a mixture of tennis, badminton and table tennis played with what looks like a tennis ball-sized golf practice ball made of rigid plastic.”
He said the courts would also be available for hire to netball clubs. The arrangements for membership and public access haven’t been pinned down yet, he said, but he expects there to be beneficial arrangements for young people.
There used to be grass courts on the site in the 1950s and 1960s, said Mr Judge.