Tennis courts

Fears over ‘pay to play’ plans for tennis courts in Gloucester


Charging people to play tennis on a Gloucester court would be “robbing the poor to pay the rich”, according to locals.

Neighbors at The Oval fear that plans to improve facilities will lead to charges being imposed to play tennis.

Resident Sarah Matheou has asked Gloucester City Council why plans are being considered which would introduce an expensive reservation system which would prevent people on low incomes from accessing the courts.

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She said there were excellent facilities for those who can pay at Oxstalls, Gloucester Business Park and Cheltenham Tennis Club.

“The Friends of the Ring have already demonstrated that the area can be easily improved through grants and fundraising,” reads its letter to the board.

“This [proposal] it’s like stealing from the poor for the benefit of the rich.

Resident Chris Matheou, who spoke at the council meeting last night (January 27), asked councilors if they thought the charges would benefit people on low incomes.

He underlined the consequences of the increase in the cost of living on the local populations.

“Do you really think that the establishment of a fee and reservation system is beneficial for people belonging to this social and economic category?” He asked.

“Or is the proposal to benefit the people in the survey photo who are the opposite of what you see in the general population around The Oval?”

Council leader Richard Cook (Con, Kingsway) said he would consider any impact potential changes would have.

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“No decision has yet been taken by Gloucester City Council regarding the introduction of a payment system to play at The Oval.

“The board will consider the impact of any changes to the current arrangements and government grant requirements before making a decision.”

Councilor Tree Chambers-Dubus (Lab, Moreland) asked if there will be proper council consultation before facility usage charging is put in place.

Culture and Leisure Cabinet Member Andy Lewis (Con, Quedgeley Severn Vale) said ‘no decision has been made on anything’.

“I haven’t spoken to the Lawn Tennis Association at all,” he said.

“So I don’t know of any timeline or anything to do with it, to be perfectly honest.

“I’ve seen pieces of the investigation, pieces and bobs but nothing is written, nothing is set in stone.”

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