Tennis courts

Shrewsbury tennis courts set to remain closed despite Emma’s glory


The Unison tennis courts were recently used as a parking lot for Shropshire Council staff

Interest in the sport is expected to peak after British teenager Emma Raducanu’s victory at the US Open, but the Shropshire Council has said there are no plans to bring the Unison courts back to Shirehall.

The issue has been raised by the Shropshire Playing Fields Association, which wants the field to be reused as tennis courts or converted into a multi-sport facility. The courts have not been used for at least two years for tennis.

The council had a permit in place for workers to park there, which expired in May. Now that the coronavirus pandemic has created more of a culture of remote working, the authority no longer needs to use the courts to park.

But with uncertainty over Shirehall’s future, no plan is in place to reopen the courts and make them playable. They are currently locked up.

A council spokesperson said: “The future of the Shirehall site in general is currently being considered. We currently have no plans to put the tennis courts back into service, but we will keep this under review for the future. at the time, taking into account any costs associated with site repairs and maintenance.

“The council no longer needs to use the area for additional parking and therefore, as the building permit has expired, they have been severed for the time being.”

There is currently public land available at the Monkmoor Recreation Center and Shrewsbury Sports Village, and community use is available on some Shrewsbury Club land, but the town has lost several land in recent years.

Shropshire Playing Fields Association chairman David Kilby, a former referee who once served for former UK number one Tim Henman, spoke out on the issue after Raducanu’s stunning victory earlier this month.

“At this time last year, the LTA showed an upward trend in the number of people playing tennis,” he said. “It was a pretty big increase. Now you would have thought it would continue. We risk losing a lot of courts in Shropshire.”

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