As the country warms up for Wimbledon, council bosses decide to make Herne Bay tennis fans PAY TO PLAY. We say to them…
UNSPORTING council bosses have turned down a plea to keep Herne Bay’s ternnis courts free to use. As the nation warmed up for the biggest event in the tennis calendar with the first matches of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, players in the town were left with love-all after being told they would have to pay to play. The courts in the Memorial Park are due for a facelift using money given to the town from developers as part of the conditions of their planning permission. West Bay councillor Peter Lee, who is responsible for Canterbury City Council’s finances, suggested trying to recoup some of the £3,000 cost by charging players, but was outvoted by his fellow councillors, leaving the advantage with Herne Bay. But when the issue was discussed by the council’s ruling executive committee, the plan to introduce fees was approved. Speaking at a meeting of the executive on Thursday, Cllr Lee said:
“They are free of charge to users at the moment. I think in spending this money we do need to try and recoup it from the people who use it. It would be easy to do, to have an agreement with a shop in Station Road or the High Street. I do think the tennis courts need resurfacing. If we are going to do them up we should first of all be putting lock on them so they cannot be used for other purposes. You do see kids in there thumping footballs at the net.”
Fellow executive member Rosemary Doyle said it was “sensible approach” to introduce charges.
“As a former tennis player I know how much maintenance they need, and it can get very expensive. Nothing comes for nothing.”
The contract to run the courts – which have been free to use for at least 20 years — will now go out to tender.
Herne Bay Times, June 25th 2014