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Date published: 23rd November 2018

A plan to build a state-of-the-art £3.4m indoor tennis centre for North Norfolk and to improve four other tennis facilities spread across the district has cleared a key hurdle.

Funding to build the Community Sports Hub, which would be built in Cromer in a partnership with the Lawn Tennis association (LTA), Cromer Academy and Cromer Lawn Tennis and Squash Association, was approved at a meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s Full Council on Wednesday evening.

The sports hub, which was approved by the Council last year and given planning approval in September, will include three indoor tennis courts, a 25-station gym, a social area and viewing gallery, and a space for fitness classes, social activities and meetings. 

The four satellite tennis facilities are in North Walsham, Fakenham with two in Wells.

The plans aim to greatly increase active leisure participation, as part of the Council’s wider health and wellbeing offer, across the district.

It would allow for year round indoor tennis in the District, demand for which was identified in the council’s 2015 Indoor Sports Facility Strategy.

Indoor tennis courts historically existed in Cromer from early in the 20th century and this new facility will build on that tradition, but will be open to the public, in order to benefit all players in the area.

On Wednesday, and following tender evaluation for the sports hub construction, Full Council agreed to fund the construction phase of the project, including an additional £118,000 for improved car parking and access through Cabbell Park and additional demolition and drainage works. Extra funding of £228,000 was approved for the satellite facilities. This follows on from enabling works for the project being completed on the Cromer Academy site during the summer school holidays.

The formal award of the construction contract will be made as soon as the LTA funding of £505,000 is confirmed, in early December.

Property related matters with Cromer Tennis Club are still being agreed and will be the final requirement for the project to go ahead, with the sports hub due to open in summer 2019.

The LTA Funding is part of its £125m Transforming British Tennis Together scheme, which was launched in 2017. The North Norfolk District Council project is one of only a handful to benefit from the scheme in its first year. The scheme seeks to double the numbers of young people playing tennis and double the amount of time existing adult players enjoy the game.

The satellite facilities will provide a wider tennis development network across North Norfolk, with community tennis participation then connecting with schools and elite coaching in the area. These facilities are as follows: 

  • Wells Tennis Club – better floodlighting for this thriving and successful club, which is available for public bookings, to increase the number of hours it can be used through the year.
  • Alderman Peel High School in Wells - a school which performs highly in sport and wellbeing, but also needs floodlighting for its tennis courts which are open to the public out of school hours.
  • Fakenham Sports Centre (‘The Gallows’) – good quality public access courts, but with limited run off area at the sides of the courts which limits participation. The proposal is to extend courts to maximise opportunity for increased usage, including some groundworks and extending the surfaced area and fencing.
  • Dual Use Sports Centre at North Walsham High School – a facility run by NNDC out of school hours, with a link to North Walsham Town Council courts on the adjacent Memorial Park. Surface, floodlights and fencing are of poor quality. With improved facilities, NWHS would become a School for Tennis under the Lawn Tennis Association scheme.

Last updated: 23rd November 2018