The first independent club to take over management of the council’s tennis courts has now signed a 25-year lease, allowing it to assume full financial and legal responsibility.
Queens Park Tennis Club formed a community benefit corporation in 2017 when it took over management of the park’s six courts and clubhouse.
Since then it has introduced floodlights, upgraded the courts and secured a liquor license for the clubhouse, which is currently being extended.
Membership has grown from less than 100 adults to nearly 400 adult, junior and senior members, with a waiting list now in place for adult members.
QPTC Director Conrad Brunner said: “This agreement will allow our club to thrive as a self-funded, registered tennis club in its own right. We have been doing this successfully since 2017, and this lease now formalizes this into a legal reality.
“There was once a neat and well-maintained community bowls club in Queens Park. When the council withdrew funding (circa 2005) the bowls club folded, like many others in the city, and the facility fell into disrepair.
“We didn’t want that to happen at our tennis facilities, so we had to organize ourselves to make sure the club was in control of its own future.
“Thanks to the many hours of volunteer work by directors and members, the CIC is now thriving and playing an important role in the local community.
Fellow director Mel Bowden said, “It took a long time! This process was complicated by issues less related to tennis and more related to the management and upkeep of the clubhouse. But we are there now. The issues have now been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
Queens Park Tennis Club was the first club to take over management of the council-owned courts in 2017. Since then, Hove Park Tennis Club and St Ann’s Well Gardens have followed suit, and clubs have expressed interest in taking over the courts from Dyke Park, Hollingbury Park, Preston Park, King Alfred and Saltdean.