Blakers Park Tennis Club’s efforts to establish a community interest company (CIC) to run the two courts in Blakers Park are at serious risk of being derailed by the public consultation process which is running until 5 March.
Unless the outcome from the consultation is clearly in favour of the Blakers CIC, there will at best be delays in completing resurfacing work and Blakers might not have courts to play on this season.
At a well-attended meeting held last week there was strong opposition to the CIC proposals from many local residents who don’t want to see the tennis courts being used solely for tennis. The overwhelming view was the courts should be left unsecured and available for the wide range of informal and non-paying uses such as children riding their bikes and skateboards, football, yoga, dog training etc…
Blakers is asking Parks League players and all tennis supporters to complete the consultation document, which you’ll find here:
Blakers bid to become a CIC is in-line with similar initiatives already in place across the city’s parks at Queens Park, Dyke Park, Hove Park and St Ann’s Tennis. It is the council’s preferred governance model for managing and maintaining the city’s public tennis courts to ensure good quality accessible for all tennis facilities in the long term.
With very unfortunate timing, work to refurbish the courts started as the council launched the consultation on the CIC. The refurbishment has been secured through the council and is fully funded by the LTA on the proviso that the courts are used only for tennis. Blakers tennis club has not been involved in the timing or scope of this work.
Although the Blakers Park Tennis Club’s bid to become a CIC is essentially independent of the court refurbishment programme, the local opposition has conflated the two and is using the consultation process to argue that work on the courts should be stopped to allow a broader consultation on the use of the space; even though there is no funding or organisation in place to deliver alternative proposals.
If those opposing the CIC are successful, there is a very real risk that the courts at Blakers will be lost. And with no funding for a non-tennis use, the Blakers courts in the long term could become a derelict space in a much-loved park
The consultation closes on 5 March and Blakers tennis club appreciates all the positive responses it can get…
Please spend a few minutes to complete the form here: