Back Common Tennis Courts an ace away

Agreement could bring half a million pound investment


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The long saga of the Chiswick Back Common tennis courts could be finally drawing to a close. A provisional agreement has been reached between TFC Leisure and Hounslow Council on the operation of the courts. The agreement goes before the Hounslow Council Executive on 3rd February and if it gains approval the Council will have to advertise the proposals with any objections being sent to a Secretary of State. There is already in principle agreement that floodlit courts can operate on this site even though it is Common Land.

TFC has successfully operated a similar facility at Rocks Lane, Barnes since 1992, on common land held by Richmond Council. This facility comprises 6 all weather floodlit courts, 4 hard courts, clubhouse (constructed by the Council) and changing facilities housed in former public conveniences.

TFC will then be granted planning permission for works to the existing courts at Chiswick Back Common on completion of the Section 106 Agreement. They first sought planning permission on this site in 1999. The delay in the development of this site resulted in Hounslow Council and CiP making an official apology to the people of Chiswick.

Chiswick Area Committee have received regular reports on the progress of the new management arrangements and required tennis to be available on the site during the summer of 2003. TFC Leisure have in consequence undertaken some remedial works to the courts, at their own expense, to allow cost free use of the courts.

It has been provisionally agreed that TFC will operate the tennis centre under a Management Contract for a term of twenty- five years, with an option, subject to satisfactory performance, for renewal at the end of the first term. The length of term acknowledges the level of future investment to be committed by TFC under their proposed contract and is comparable with the lease term granted by the Council to "Will to Win Tennis" at Chiswick House Grounds.

In the first year of the lease being granting TFC will be spending over £200,000 to upgrade and floodlight the existing tennis courts as well as the brick building on the site. In the second phase three new courts are planned at a cost of £82,500. The third phase will involve the building of a new tennis centre and "short tennis" courts. This will cost over £242,000 bringing the total investment to over half a million pounds.

There will be charges for use of the courts and TFC will have to give 1% of their turnover over £300,000 to Hounslow Council. Most of the site's income is likely to come from coaching. One tennis court will always be made available for public casual use.

January 28, 2004