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Serving residents with new tennis courts at Heigham Park

Heigham Park tennis courts
Heigham Park tennis courts
Published on Monday, 25th July 2022

Three new modern, all-weather, floodlit tennis courts are now open for budding Wimbledon stars at Heigham Park in Norwich.

Three new modern, all-weather tennis courts are now open for budding Wimbledon stars at Heigham Park in Norwich.

Norwich City Council have installed the courts and aim to build on the success of other Norwich Parks tennis schemes at Eaton and Waterloo parks by providing high quality, accessible, affordable sports facilities that will be available for 52 weeks of the year.

Norwich City councillor Adam Giles, cabinet member for community wellbeing said:

“The city council is proud of its record for improving facilities for our residents and investing in our much-loved parks.

“These courts, along with others across the city, form part of the council priorities to improve health and wellbeing, which has 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 in the face of some tough obstacles to deliver these fantastic affordable community facilities.”

This latest chapter of the Norwich Parks Tennis project, which also includes the new tennis facilities at Lakenham Recreation Ground, is being entirely funded by a combination of community infrastructure levy funds from the Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB), capital funding from the city council, and Section 106 funds for the Lakenham courts.

John Fuller, chair of the GNGB, said:

“The GNGB understands the need to deliver important social projects like this alongside our planned new homes and jobs.”

Additional benefits of the new courts include affordable annual membership and access to high quality coaching programmes through Norwich Parks Tennis programme.

Booking and training will be run through Norwich Parks Tennis and are available on the Norwich Parks Tennis website.

The next phase of improvement work at Heigham Park will be looking to complete the rebuild of the pavilion which was damaged by fire in 2019. The council is also looking to install a new modular toilet facility to include disability access soon.

Additional background information

The ten original grass courts at Heigham Park were closed in 2017 as they were costing £39,000 per year to maintain and provided an income of £2,700, meaning they were having to be subsidised by £36,300 per year. The upgrade to all weather, low maintenance, LED floodlit courts will therefore save the council (and subsequently the taxpayer) in upkeep costs.

The original grass courts were only available during park opening hours in the months of April to September - the new courts will now be able to be enjoyed from 8am to 10pm and for 52 weeks of the year.

Although community groups had initially expressed an interest in taking on the operation and management of the grass courts, unfortunately their proposals did not meet the wider objective of Norwich Parks Tennis. These objectives were, and continue to be, to provide affordable, accessible, and sustainable tennis provision to all city residents all year round.

Stakeholders, such as the Gardens Trust, LTA, Friends of Heigham Park, and the park’s tennis club were consulted as part of the original planning application process. Heritage, equality, and ecological impact assessments have also been carried out to inform the plans and ensure that the biodiversity of the area is maintained.

Norwich Parks Tennis membership is available for an affordable £35 per year household membership / £ 55 per year for annual multi-site membership and is available at a pay and play rate of £6.70 per court per hour.

The project, which also includes the new tennis facilities at Lakenham Recreation Ground, is costing £459,536, an increase of £36,398 to what was originally budgeted. This is due to the increased cost of the sunflower gates, overall increase in commodity prices and the cost of rectifying the vandalism (removal of gloss paint from the courts and security gate and rectifying fire damage.)

The sunflower gates will be installed later this summer - permission to open the courts without these was granted by the planning authority.

The Greater Norwich Growth Board is a partnership comprising Broadland District, Norwich City, South Norfolk and Norfolk County Councils together with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Partners have established the GNGB in order to work together, delivering homes, jobs and infrastructure in the area. As part of this remit, the GNGB provides strategic direction, monitoring and co-ordination of the Greater Norwich City Deal and the wider growth programme for the Greater Norwich area.