Issues and Options

After many months of inconclusive negotiations with the Parish Council regarding the tennis courts, at their June 2018 meeting they asked us to produce a bullet-pointed list of the current issues. This we provided before their July 2018 meeting, as follows:

ISSUES:

  1. The two macadam courts at Stapleford Tennis Club (STC) are overdue by three years for resurfacing.
  2. The fence surrounding the courts is damaged and needs to be replaced.
  3. The club no longer has an easily accessible clubhouse/shed to store equipment.
  4. STC does not have enough money in its sinking fund to pay for these repairs.
  5. STC could receive matching funds from the Lawn Tennis Association (or other grant body) for these repairs, but any grant body requires clubs to have a lease of 20-25 years.
  6. The current STC lease with the Stapleford Parish Council (PC) was signed in 2014, is a five-year lease, and expires in July 2019. (The previous lease was between STC and the District Council and was agreed in 1964.)
  7. STC has requested a long-term lease from the PC; this has not been granted.
  8. STC’s funds are composed solely of private membership fees.  Should the PC decide to undertake the cost of court re-surfacing, STC will not contribute its funds toward that cost without—at a minimum—the guarantee of 10-year priority access for its membership.
  9. Despite the urgent need for refurbishment to its courts and replacement of its fence, STC retains a strong membership of 145 players ranging from toddlers to septuagenarians.
  10. The STC Committee members are hopeful for a long-term lease or some other arrangement—any decision, really—as soon as possible.  We are determined to provide our membership with the best outcome, regardless of what we are given to work with.

We also supplied the Parish Council with a summary of the background, and a list of suggested options (below) from here on. We are still waiting for them to review all this in council; as of their September meeting, it was deferred again to be discussed at a “Users meeting” – date of which is still to be arranged at the time of writing (27 September 2018).

SUGGESTED OPTIONS:

  1. Grant the club a long Lease of 25 years, at a true Peppercorn rent of £1pa.
    – the club will then seek outside funding to restore the facilities;
    – we would seek to install a secure locked shed for access by Members only;
    – the courts themselves can then be openly available to all;
    – non-Members would pay a modest booking fee for use;
    – the club would manage all bookings [via the LTA’s ClubSpark];
    – all fees paid go to the tennis club;
    – the club would seek to schedule Open Days for all;
    – the club would seek to develop a coaching programme for all (with member priority);
    – the club would seek to host a tennis tournament and regular competitions for players of all levels, including an annual Open tournament;
    – the club would seek to
    – Parish Council pays nothing, but can boast an excellent sporting facility for its community.

  2. Allow the current Lease to expire in July 2019.
    – Parish Council would become responsible for refurbishment and maintenance;
    – the tennis club’s funds would be used only for the benefit of Members;
    – the club may seek court time elsewhere as a ‘nomadic club’.

  3. Allow the current Lease to expire in July 2019 and enter a Priority Use agreement.
    – Parish Council would become responsible for refurbishment and maintenance;
    – the tennis club would pay an agreed fee for priority use by its members;
    – the PC would maintain bookings by the public, the opening and closing of the courts, any removal or set-up of nets should the courts be used for other sports, etc.

  4. Stapleford Tennis Club welcomes any options that would benefit the community and the club.