4:19 PM July 25, 2022
Budding tennis stars have a new place to train following the opening of new courts in a city park.
Norwich City Council has installed three new modern, weatherproof tennis courts in Heigham Park which are now open to find Norwich’s answer to Andy Murray or those who just want a friendly game with their friends.
The courts were created to build on the success of its other urban park tennis programs at Eaton and Waterloo Parks by providing high quality, accessible and affordable sports facilities available year-round. .
Adam Giles, Norwich City Councilor and Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said: “The City Council is proud of its record of improving facilities for our residents and investing in our much-loved parks.
“These courts, along with others across the city, are part of the council’s priorities for improving health and wellbeing, which have become even more important since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s been quite a journey to get to this point and a lot of hard work over tough odds to deliver these fantastic affordable community facilities.”
Other benefits of the new parks include affordable annual membership and access to high quality training programs through the Norwich Parks tennis programme.
The original 10 grass courts at Heigham Park were closed in 2017 as they cost £39,000 a year to maintain and provided an income of £2,700 meaning they needed to be subsidized by £36,300 per year.
According to the council, upgrading to all-weather, low-maintenance, LED-lit courts should save money on maintenance costs.
The original grass courts were also only available during park hours from April to September, while the new courts will now be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and for 52 weeks of the year.
But the decision was not without controversy.
Campaigners have been so angered by the authorities’ decision to remove the city’s last remaining grass courts at Heigham Park to make way for three new hard-surface courts that they have crowdfunded a London lawyer to examine the planning process behind.
Protesters felt the money should have been spent elsewhere, with one accusing the council of wasting money on the site at a time when people were going hungry due to the rising cost of living.
In a 17-page review, barrister Daniel Kozelko said he was of the view that Norwich City Council (NCC) fell short of standards of good administrative practice.
However, he said there was not enough information to support the conclusion that the request was predetermined.
Norwich City Council have always maintained that they follow all the rules.