Lower Windrush Tennis Club
Clubhouse Proposal - UPDATE DEC 2018
The Committee would like to give everyone an update on where we are with the clubhouse project.
For many years there has been a desire to establish a clubhouse at the courts and you will know that the committee have developed new proposals for a small building with WC, shelter, kitchen and storage facilities. We have worked closely with the Parish Council and the community and gained their support with an evolved design as well as obtaining planning permission from WODC - all good news. Thanks are due to Richard our architect for all his help with the designs.
This year we've been focusing on the next stage which is to find suppliers and obtain quotations. We've approached 30 companies with a clear specification for the clubhouse, based on the planning consent design plus the need for new services connections to Rack End, a small sewerage pumping station (needed because there is insufficient fall) and to meet the Building Control requirements.
Unfortunately only a small proportion of the firms were willing to quote and, of those that did, the costs were very high at over £60,000 which is considerably more than envisaged at the start of the project. This high cost is driven by the bespoke nature of the design in the strip of land between Court 1 and the children's playground, the various services (sewerage pumping station, trenching down the park and new Thames Water connections), the fit-out and general project management costs (building control liaison and safety management). The actual clubhouse shell itself is not the most expensive part, it is all the other enabling costs that push the costs up so much.
We have also investigated simpler WC facilities, like a compost toilet, but that solution (no pun intended!) is problematic because the park is in a flood risk zone.
The cost level for the clubhouse is almost double what the club could afford with its reserves and we are reluctant to take out loans because our future net income streams, after allowing for court resurfacing provisions, would mean a very long repayment period. We have explored the availability of grants but these are not freely available and tend to come with very onerous conditions.
Regrettably, the committee have unanimously agreed to put the clubhouse on hold for the moment. That doesn't mean the vision of having a clubhouse is now lost, but that we need to reconsider the project as and when new information or opportunities arise.
We would welcome any feedback or questions from members on this update. Replies to firstname.lastname@example.org
Clubhouse Proposal - Background
The Lower Windrush Tennis Club (LWTC) is based at the Standlake Courts and welcomes members of all ages and abilities. A court is also available on a ‘pay as you play’ basis for non-members at specified times. Details here. The LWTC is keen to enhance the facilities offered to members by providing a small club house, in order to attract new players/members and to ensure the health and safety of our juniors in particular.
Coaching sessions are run extensively by Excel Tennis Academy, using professionally qualified coaches throughout the week, and lessons are disrupted if the coach needs to escort a child into the village hall to use the facilities there, at which point the rest of the group are left alone on the courts. We cannot provide parent helpers for all these outdoor sessions to assist with supervision. Safeguarding standards require that we ‘ensure children are adequately supervised at all times.’
Standlake School enjoys free weekly use of the courts in the hope that local children will take up playing tennis as result. Better facilities will also enable the club to put on day time holiday courses for juniors.
It is hoped that a small clubhouse, which will be secured when not in use, will offer the following:
- Toilet - close to and visible from the courts for independent use
- Drinking water
- Storage for equipment Inc. first aid kit
- Sink/kettle/microwave/small fridge
- Table and chairs for 8 people (parents/post-match teas)
- Notice board
The LWTC have been in discussion about this with the Parish Council (PC) for some time now, as they needed to give permission to use PC land near the courts. Community consultation was carried out at end of 2015/early 2016 with Toddler Group, Friends of Standlake School and Youth Club, as well as 3 hours of general public consultation outside the post office.
A number of different locations for the clubhouse were considered, including ones between courts 2&3 and overlapping with the playground. These were reviewed with the PC and a position at the top of court 3 was supported. However, concerns were subsequently raised that the position would be problematic in terms of vandalism, distance and the ability to connect services. In January 2017 the tennis club approached the PC again and the PC approved a site next to court 1 for a small wooden 16 x 20 ft clubhouse to meet the needs of LWTC, much closer to the courts, which encroaches less into the back overgrown corner of the playground. The tennis club would aim to have its own water and power supply and different options are being considered for sewerage.
The tennis club are now commissioning a professionally drawn site plan and will then seek planning permission, a process which will invite further feedback. LWTC will discuss conditions for use of the clubhouse with the PC as part of the planning application, taking on board that feedback.
The aim is to get people playing and enjoying tennis safely!
If you would like to get involved in supporting this initiative to improve our local facilities or just join in with tennis, please see our new notice board outside court 1 or visit the website for contact details.