Tennis courts are on the line

PUBLISHED: 14:38 01 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:08 31 May 2010

TENNIS players using the Lord Butler Leisure Centre in Saffron Walden have been forced to play elsewhere due to the state of the centre s courts. Tennis coach Diana Gunton has taken her students to a court in Debden due to the two courts at the leisure ce

TENNIS players using the Lord Butler Leisure Centre in Saffron Walden have been forced to play elsewhere due to the state of the centre's courts.

Tennis coach Diana Gunton has taken her students to a court in Debden due to the two courts at the leisure centre being in a state of disrepair.

Jane Edwards, who used to play on the courts, is enraged that the facilities have been allowed to deteriorate to their current state.

She said: "The surface of the courts is covered with algae and there is only one insubstantial net.

"There is also a broken gate leaning precariously against the fencing, which the leisure centre has failed to repair despite health and safety concerns and repeated requests to amend the shortcomings of this public facility."

The Lord Butler Leisure Centre on Peaslands Road is run by Leisure Connection, a national company that looks after more than 80 sports centres on behalf of local authorities.

The company has been in talks with Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and other businesses involved to try and arrange for the work necessary on the courts to be carried out.

Gaynor Bradley, UDC's leisure and community manager, said: "The tennis courts flooded in November. Leisure Connection and the tennis coach were concerned the surface had become slippery due to algae.

"The tennis coach decided to use facilities elsewhere whilst the matter was being considered in December.

"It was decided a long term solution was required to avoid this situation recurring and after investigation it was agreed the courts should be upgraded to ensure better drainage and then be resurfaced."

Although Leisure Connection and the council aim to get the work done as soon as it can, it is likely to take a considerable amount of time and money to complete.

Mrs Bradley said: "The aim is to resolve this matter as quickly as possible but it is an expensive option and the work needs to be undertaken by a specialist company.

"A decision has been taken to try to resolve the matter in the longer term and thereby minimise disruption to future customers.

"Leisure Connection Ltd looks forward to welcoming Diana Gunton's tennis sessions back at the centre once the work has been completed, as has previously been agreed with her."

In the meantime, the leisure centre is refunding tennis players and Mrs Gunton will move her lessons back to the leisure centre when the courts are repaired.

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