Wirral tennis given ‘long term sustainable future’ after budget cut fears

Wirral tennis given ‘long term sustainable future’ after budget cut fears


Tennis’ governing body has vowed to give Wirral’s provision for the sport “a long term sustainable future”.

It had been expected last week that Wirral Council would move to sign off on proposals to permanently close Wirral Tennis and Sports Center (WTSC) in Birkenhead in a bid to save the authority much needed cash. However, the council’s tennis provision will after the sport’s governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), agreed to underwrite funding for the service and work with Wirral Council to appoint an operator to exclusively manage the six indoor courts and three outdoor courts.

A consultation was launched on the future of WTSC to which the LTA expressed concern at the proposed closure of three out of the six indoor tennis courts at the site. As a result, the governing body devised a package that will both deliver the required level of saving at the site together with a broader package of investment funding on Wirral both at WTSC and in outdoor courts across the borough.

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Oxton Liberal Democrat Cllr Alan Brame said he was “delighted” the courts would remain open as there had been “clear demand” for the provision to be retained. In a statement, an LTA spokesperson said: “We’re very pleased that the council accepted our plans to reopen Wirral Tennis Centre, and ensure it had a long term sustainable future.

“This decision will safeguard vital indoor tennis facilities and we are now working hard on plans to re-open the center in September.”

The move to close sites is part of Wirral Council’s savings program of £20m to plug its financial gaps. Golf courses, libraries and a leisure center across the borough were given a stay of execution from permanent closure last week. The local authority’s tourism, communities, culture and leisure committee moved ahead with proposals to progress a number of sites toward the next stage of community asset transfers in a bid to keep them open.

Among the locations spared from permanent shut down were Brackenwood and Hoylake golf courses, with golf’s leading body, the Royal and Ancient (R&A) stepping in to call for Hoylake to be saved. It was said by the R&A that the Hoylake course “is a key part of The Open Golf Championship infrastructure and without it they cannot stage this global event. In investment terms the Open is worth approximately £100m to the Wirral and Liverpool City Region economy.”

Reports will be drawn up on the progress of the next stage of the asset transfer process to report back to the committee in October.

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