Tennis club serves ace expansion plan

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club Secretary Alex Wingent is looking forward to the expansion of the club.   Picture: OX68466 David Fleming

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club Secretary Alex Wingent is looking forward to the expansion of the club. Picture: OX68466 David Fleming Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

TENNIS in Abingdon is set for a volley of investment.

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club (ALTC) is planning to build four new adult courts, one mini tennis court and two paddle courts.

The tennis club, at Southern Town Park in Lambrick Way, has 250 members and hopes to bring in more junior and amateur players.

At £40,000 each, the six new courts will cost in the region of £240,000, which the club currently does not have.

Secretary Alex Wingent said it hopes to bid for funding from Sport England.

He said: “At the moment we are breaking out membership record every year, and we certainly get congested at times.

“But, at the moment, we only have enough money to build one new court.”

When the club moved to Southern Town Park in the 80s, it planned to build eight hard and two grass courts, but lack of funds led to this being reduced to six courts and a scaled-down clubhouse. But in the last ten years the club has raised £140,000 to extend its clubhouse and resurgance courts.

It has also developed coaching programs for beginners and supervised play sessions for juniors on Saturdays, and has seen a 50 per cent growth in members in the past three years.

Club president Jim Eastwood said: “Our next ten-year plan looks to extend our facilities and activities, and the new planning application is a blueprint of the facilities we would like to get.

Mini-tennis courts will extend court capabilities for juniors, paddle tennis will extend racket sport to a wider class of participant.

“Further tennis courts to allow social play and coaching at weekends, in parallel with the matches played by the ALTC teams.

“We are also developing our links with the White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre to grow team play for juniors.”

The lawn tennis club already runs the Abingdon Junior Open in August, which attracts about 150 entrants each year.

Vale of White Horse District Council is currently reviewing the leases of the sports clubs at Lambrick Way, with the aim of helping them in get access to grants from organisations such as Sport England.

The Vale is also planning to expand the tennis and leisure centre car park on Audlett Drive by 100 places.

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