Club wins fight to build more tennis courts in Malmesbury
Malmesbury Tennis Club has won its battle to build two extra tennis courts and a mini court after reaching full capacity and being unable to meet demand for extra playing time.
The club, at Tetbury Hill Gardens, off Tetbury Hill, already has three tennis courts - two of which are floodlit - a clubhouse and a car park with space to park eight cars.
The expansion, granted permission at a meeting last Wednesday, will include floodlighting for each of the new courts as well as a practice wall, to be granted permission temporarily for 12 months.
A previous application, to include a car park extension, was withdrawn after residents said increased traffic would add to the poor state of the road at Tetbury Hill Gardens.
They also raised concerns about light pollution from the floodlights and the club has agreed to turn off the existing floodlights by 9pm and the new floodlights by 9.30pm.
Miles Edmeston, chairman, said the club was taking residents’ concerns seriously and has submitted a travel plan to reduce the number of traffic movements.
All new members of the club will be encouraged walk, cycle, or to park elsewhere.
Mr Edmeston said: “The club has opened its doors to the local community for significant periods of time each week. This has led to a demand in courts.
"We are now in a situation where, if we want to offer our facilities to non-members, we must build more courts.
“We believe that our planning application should be viewed as a positive step submitted by a responsible club whose interest is to provide recreation to a growing town.”
At the moment pupils from Malmesbury Primary School in years three and four benefit from coaching sessions and the school wishes to open this up to all ages.
Junior coaching sessions take up all the court space from 4pm to 7pm weekdays and all day Saturday, leaving limited time to fit a game in for adults.
Jo Kitching, who joined the club in 2006, captains the ladies' and mixed teams.
She said: “We now for the first time, have two ladies' teams, one of which has to use Sherston as its venue as there’s not enough space at Malmesbury.
“Recently we lost one of our most promising potential coaches to another club, because there wasn’t space for him to coach. In fact my own children cannot get coaching at the club because there’s not enough space.”
Simon Killane, Wiltshire councillor for Malmesbury, said: “They are creating opportunities for children of all ages, they are happy to support the children with all the equipment.
“Here is a brilliant example of a club trying to engage with everyone in the town.”