Borough’s refurbished tennis courts reopen under new management

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Tennis courts in Bedford Park. Image: Bedford Borough Council
Tennis courts in Bedford Park. Image: Bedford Borough Council

With the tennis season well underway and Wimbledon just around the corner, Bedford’s tennis courts are up and running under new management.

The new tennis management operator, National Tennis Association (NTA) will initially take over the running of courts in Bedford Park, Mowsbury Park, Southfields and Allen Park. Linden Road, Addison Howard Park and Russell Park will follow once works on these courts are complete.

A new booking and payment system has been introduced, but Bedford Borough Council has confirmed all income generated from court fees will be ring-fenced to cover the cost of maintenance and eventual replacement of the surface.

Court hire will cost £6 per hour for pay and play or £40 for an annual household pass, the equivalent of just 77p per week. The annual pass allows families up to four bookings of court time per week and the ability to book slots up to two weeks in advance.

You can find out more about booking and coaching programmes here.

Free to play

There are still ‘free to play’ sessions available and each site will have one court available for informal tennis between 2pm – 4pm every Sunday. This will still need to be booked, is available on a first-come first-served basis, and once all sites are completed will result in 14 hours of free tennis per week across the Borough.

The LTA’s Barclays Free Park Tennis initiative will also be launching on the courts. This will offer weekly one-hour group sessions, where everybody is welcome and all equipment is provided. A start date for this will be announced shortly.

Any Bedforidans (aged 16+) interested in giving back to their park community by helping to run these sessions can complete a free training course – sign up here.

Grant funding

The refurbishment of Bedford’s park tennis courts has been made possible thanks to £400,000 of external funding including from the LTA Tennis Foundation.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said: “The refurbishment of Bedford Borough’s park tennis courts and the securing of weekly free sessions on match-quality courts, is great news for our sports lovers.

“The Council has been working diligently to secure a capable operator to oversee the management of our courts, and we hope that this can help to secure their future for years to come.”

Further details and updates on the park tennis courts, including booking information and coaching programmes are available at here, or contact the NTA at hello@nationaltennis.org.uk.