8 June 2015
As the nation prepares to be gripped by Wimbledon, Harrogate is serving up yet another addition to its growing range of sporting and leisure amenities.
Work is now underway to build a major multi-million pound tennis centre on land at Harrogate High School.
And while it may be fanciful to think it may be the launchpad for our very own Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal, it is the creation of modern facilities like these as well as its excellent schools - that has propelled Harrogate to the forefront of popularity when it comes to choosing a place to live.
Linley & Simpson, the residential sales and letting specialists on Princes Square, said the development would cement the spa towns burgeoning reputation for leisure amenities.
And it came as the district was witnessing a record number of homes being rented Linley & Simpson alone achieving more than 170 in just the first five months of the year.
The project has been negotiated over the past decade by the Spa Lawn Tennis Club and its chairman Nigel Bentley. The first phase of construction follows an exchange of contracts for the new Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre to lease land at Harrogate High School with six full-size outdoor courts due to be in use in August.
The partnership will see the centre being used by students choosing tennis as part of their curriculum studies and being taught by professional coaches.
The new centre will allow Spa Lawn Tennis Club to leave its base in Kent Drive, where the tennis facilities are no longer appropriate for the modern game.
Mr Bentley said: "Tennis is a fantastic, inclusive sport but, if it is to thrive at grassroots level, we have to broaden its appeal. We currently have members aged from five to 87 but the membership is declining because the basic facilities are inadequate for the modern game. This spurred the search for new premises and the opportunity to develop significantly enhanced facilities."
For UK tennis to prosper we need to create more centres attractive to young and old and where people can play all year. The Lawn Tennis Association supports the new centre and provided funding for the planning process and a bridging loan for the initial development".
The Harrogate Advertiser reported that three of the new courts will feature floodlit artificial grass with a further three tarmac courts. The first phase of construction also includes a new access through Claro Park, the re-location of the clubs temporary club house, a car park and taking utility services to the site.
Phase Two of the development of the tennis centre, which is subject to securing further funding, aims to provide four indoor courts, changing rooms, café/bar, a gymnasium and a table tennis suite, and to start by the year-end.