Eden District Council has approved funding of £187,000 towards the costs of improvements to Penrith Castle Park, including the provision of a permanent home for Penrith Tennis Club.
Castle Park recently received a prestigious Green Flag Award, the international quality mark for parks and green spaces, in recognition of the Council’s management of the park’s green spaces. However, it’s hoped that the improvements required to facilitate Penrith Tennis Club’s relocation to Castle Park will help and attract new visitors to the park and facilitate other improvements that will help make the park an even more enjoyable place to visit.
In order to meet Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) regulations, all four of the park’s tennis courts will need to be resurfaced. They will also require new net supports, surrounding netting and gates. The work will also improve provision for disabled users, allowing better accessibility to the facilities than is currently available.
To enable night time use of the courts during darker evenings, LED court lighting, as well as refurbished and illuminated access footways are included in the scheme. The provision of access and court lighting will allow the Courts to be usable throughout the year, instead of the current operating times between Easter and Mid-September. The park will also be opened 24/7 to allow access to the courts. Castle Park is currently closed between dusk and dawn.
Access to the tennis courts is to be controlled via a smart gate, activated by a passcode provided by the LTA's Clubspark Web based booking system. Penrith Tennis Club Members and members of public will be able to use Clubspark to book and pay for casual court use. It’s anticipated that full year operation of the courts, with the floodlights allowing night-time use, will provide significant additional income.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be just over £474,000 and a further £100,000 of funding has been allocated to the scheme by Sport England. Penrith Tennis Club will provide £30,000 of funding and Penrith Town Council has allocated £5,500 towards costs. Applications for further funding have also been made to the LTA, and other organisations.
Eden District Council’s Communities Portfolio holder, Cllr. Lissie Sharp, said, “Access, opportunity and capability to take part in exercise and physical activity is vital in boosting fitness and supporting the health and well-being of our residents.
"I see this as a really positive contribution to significant improvements to Penrith Castle Park, widening our sports and leisure provision and supporting the sustainability of Penrith Tennis Club giving them a permanent home.
"The relocation of Penrith Tennis Club to Castle Park will really help to kick-start a rejuvenation of the park and I’m looking forward to seeing the developments in the coming year."
Penrith Tennis Club is currently located at Penrith Rugby Club. However, they have been unable to secure a long-term lease at the site and have been looking for an alternative location. This new project will provide the club with a permanent home, with refurbished facilities that comply with LTA regulations.
Robert Cresswell, Chairman of Penrith Tennis Club, said, "This project has been five years in the making and we’re very excited that the long-term future of the club has been secured in Penrith Castle Park.
"It's our hope that the refurbished facilities, including the new courts, floodlighting and infrastructure improvements, will become an attractive asset to club members and local residents, alike."