Following the decision of the last AGM of the Tennis Club to support the move to the LESSA site, we can now report important progress. On 22 October, the Tennis Club Committee took the important decision to accept the offer of a lease on the new tennis facilities at the LESSA site. This means that over the next few months the club will relocate from our existing site at 129 Grand Drive, to the new one at Meadow View Road (off Grand Drive).
The offer of a lease on the new site came from the housebuilders Bellway Homes Ltd., who have constructed some new houses and flats on part of the LESSA site. As a part of a planning deal, Bellways were required to build new tennis facilities which they were then required to offer to our club.
The new premises will be leased by Bellways to our club, with a 99 year lease, on a peppercorn rent. The terms of the lease have been the subject of hard negotiations with Bellways in the period between July and October. The club has achieved considerable success in improving the terms of that lease in these negotiations. The club will be expected to pay a contribution to the overall maintenance of certain parts of the LESSA site, but the contribution will be capped at levels which we will be able to predict and to afford.
The New Premises
The new tennis club will be located about 300 metres from our existing site. To get there from the present site, you would go along Grand Drive, towards Raynes Park station, but after about 200 metres, turn left down Meadow View Road. The tennis club will be at the far end of that road. It is also possible to access the new club site from Westway, via a footpath/cycleway which runs off Westway (between nos. 108 and 110 Westway).
The new tennis facilities will include 5 new all-weather courts, and a new clubhouse, which will offer similar facilities to those provided by our existing clubhouse, but with the addition of 2 shower cubicles. The new kitchen is fitted out with cupboards work surfaces a stove, and a serving counter.
The club will also have use of 20 car parking spaces, which will be shared with whoever occupies the adjacent new playing fields.
Bellway’s work on the new courts and the clubhouse has now been virtually completed, though they have indicated that they will install an external power point (for use for example by the ball machine). There will however be some finishing off to the clubhouse which will be required, and which will be undertaken by the club. This will include flooring finishes, and other furnishings and fittings.
The club intends to install floodlighting on 2 of the 5 courts, and in fact planning permission has been granted for floodlighting for all 5 of the courts, by Merton Council. It is possible that at a future date, the club may decide to extend the floodlighting to all 5 courts.
The club also intends to construct a large new storage shed, which will be used to store tennis equipment, and grounds maintenance equipment and materials.
A paved spectator area will be constructed adjacent to the clubhouse building, to accommodate seating. Finally the club intends to install some steel fencing around the public side of the site, in order to increase the level of security.
The majority of the cost of providing the new tennis facilities has been borne by Bellways, and their investment here is estimated to be around £200,000. However, as referred to above there are some items which the club will need to provide at its own expense. The club has however been successful in bidding for lottery money, from Sport England, who have offered a grant of £30,000, which will cover the majority of these costs. The bid made to Sport England promised that the club would be putting a further £15,000 of its own money, as match funding, into the project.
The new lease should be signed by the end of November or possibly December, and we would be in a position to start using the new premises from that time. Exactly when the new site is used, will depend on progress with the outstanding work. For a period of time, the club plans to operate from both sites in parallel, but we should transfer our operations entirely to the new site probably in the spring of 2013. We will then terminate our lease on our old site.
Further details will be sent to you shortly regarding when the various social tennis sessions will transfer to the new site.
The main reason for using both sites in parallel is because we need some time to get the clubhouse fully finished internally, and to install the floodlighting on the new courts. Until this work is completed, we will need to continue to rely on the existing site.
The Whole Process
Overall this scheme has been 5 years in gestation, with the first approach being made to the club in November 2007. Since that time a great deal of work has been undertaken by the club to get us to this point. It is hoped that this move will allow the club to expand, to offer extra coaching, and to secure our longer term future as a viable club.