Tennis court access concerns raised with Dunmow Town Council

Children playing tennis in Great Dunmow, Essex

Children playing tennis in Dunmow - Credit: submitted

The bookings system for Dunmow's public tennis courts is to be reviewed, after a town council meeting heard concerns there is not enough public access.

Fleur Wright said there were problems with bookings for the Talberds Ley courts behind Foakes Hall, and she was frustrated the tennis club has now booked across the holiday periods.

She told members of the Downs and Commons Committee the problems were the allocation of time for the public to use the courts, which are a public facility, as well as the bookings process.

She has organised a free sports group for home educated children every week for two years and paid for the costs and kit herself.

Fleur told the meeting: "I do not do it as a business. I pay for it myself. We have 30 children that come along, some are clinically vulnerable."

Councillors heard that she had calculated the tennis club had 63% allocation of the available time. 

Fleur said that as members of the public who want to use the courts make a booking and collect the key from Willett's newsagent, the availability of the courts had to take into account the business opening hours. 

Most Read

She said public access was further restricted by available daylight which meant the percentage of available time dropped still further.

"As the public, we are not allowed to use the floodlights. If you take off the unsocial hours our percentage share falls."

She said on three occasions since September 2020 her group's booking was over-ridden by Dunmow Tennis Club and the council had stepped in to help.

Fleur added: "However, it is a waste of my time, your time. I feel if there is a better, more transparent system that would be appreciated."

Members of the public who were at the meeting said that tennis club members had paid for the installation of the lighting and electricity.

Councillors agreed the clerk will review the issue, consult with the club and make recommendations for a future meeting.

Speaking to the Broadcast, Fleur said: "As a community we need access to low cost sports facilities."