Salford’s £180k tennis courts still closed eight months after summer opening event

Six refurbished tennis courts in Walkden are still closed despite an event celebrating their opening over eight months ago.

The courts in Parr Fold Park, which have received a £180,000 upgrade from a joint Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Salford City Council initiative as part of the LTA Tennis Foundation’s Park Tennis Project, were supposed to open in July last year. 

Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South, and Paul Dennett, the Mayor of Salford, were in attendance as the newly refurbished courts were showcased to local residents last July.

The £180,000 renovation of Parr Fold Park’s tennis courts have seen them resurfaced, with a new fence, a gate, and flood lights installed. The courts appear ready but they are still closed off. 

The long delay has hindered the growth of tennis in the area. 

A Salford tennis coach, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Quays News that he is frustrated at the delay, as he was hoping to get full time work at the new courts.

He claims he has now been forced to reconsider his career, and is hoping to teach padel part time.

“The whole thing’s been a bit of a farce,” he said.

“We had loads of people sign up for lessons. Then nothing happened. So all of that interest and impetus has gone. It’s a shame. It’s just been a waste of a year basically.” 

“Once it gets up and running it will be great. The actual facilities are brilliant. It’s just typical council, faffing about for a year.” 

Work started on upgrading the courts last March, and was originally scheduled to be finished by May last year. 

Parr Fold Park Tennis Courts refurbished but still closed

The courts were initially held up due to problems with their foundations and later with the floodlights.

Overall, £662,743 has been spent on upgrading Salford’s tennis courts, with £456,091 from the LTA, and £206,652 invested by Salford City Council. The aim is to increase usage of tennis courts, especially through encouraging those who would not have previously played the sport.

Renovated tennis courts across Salford

Parr Fold Park’s courts are the last of the eight parks involved in the project to remain closed. Despite their delay, the upgrades have proved successful elsewhere.

Albert Park, Boothsbank Park, Buile Hill Park, Lightoaks Park, Prince’s Park, Victoria Park, Eccles Recreation Ground have had their courts renovated and are now accessible. 

Victoria Park in Swinton received £96,850 in funding for its four courts to remove concrete posts, new fencing and a gate, and for resurfacing.

Playing at Victoria Park’s new courts, Jack Berger, 21, said: “Growing up there isn’t really an emphasis on tennis. You think of your Manchester Uniteds or Salford Citys, everyone’s football mad.”

“It’s Salford not Wimbledon, but the courts are as good as you can get around here. It’s encouraged people to play more.” 

Newly upgraded tennis courts in Victoria Park

Mike Whitnel, 65, who plays tennis twice a week, but was at Victoria Park for the first time added: “[my] First impressions are very good. I’m a Salford resident, and it’s excellent that they can provide the local facilities. 

There is hope for a similar impact in Parr Fold Park, once the courts open. 

According to Salford Community Leisure, which operates some sports services on behalf of Salford City Council, the courts will be open in the ‘coming weeks’.

Salford City Council responded: “Parr Fold [Park] is the only one not currently open due to a delay. But they should be open next week. All others are open and successful.”

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