Learn about how local people are using Community Rights to protect tennis facilities across England so that they have access to the amenities which allow them to enjoy and play the game.
Since 2012 community groups have been using the Community Rights introduced through the Localism Act to rejuvenate community facilities by listing them as Assets of Community Value. This simple process which allows local people to nominate buildings and other land as being of community value have been used by thousands of community groups across England. The scheme referred to as the Community Right Bid, means that any building or land which is successfully nominated to the local council cannot be sold without the nominating group being notified of the sale and being given the chance to delay the sale for up to six months to prepare a bid.
Groups who enjoy playing tennis have used their powers to recover what can be for them and their facilities match point.
While national organisations such as the Lawn Tennis Association do a great amount of work to support clubs and local authorities through initiatives such as Tennis For Free to promote the game and ensure people from any background and any community have access to facilities, community groups have been taking the initiative themselves.
Building on the success of groups involved with other sports that have used their community rights, people who are passionate about tennis have formed into individual groups and in certain instances mobilised their parish council to pick up their racquets and serve an ace on behalf of local people.
In Fairfield in Bedfordshire, Fairfield Parish Council successfully made the case that Fairfield Tennis Court furthered the social wellbeing and interest of the local community and therefore should be listed as an asset of community value.
In Haringey North London in October 2014, the Chine and Cascade Resident Association listed their tennis court and club house ensuring that local people can continue to meet, socialise and play tennis.
In June 2015, East Preston Council Parish Council in West Sussex successfully nominated Angmering-on-Sea Lawn Tennis Club, which was formed as a club in 1962, to ensure its use for current and future generations.
Simon Cross, clerk to the Council explains how this parish council nominated their tennis club:
“The parish council worked with local residents as part of developing a Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group suggested a number of venues in the village to become Assets of Community Value, and Angmering-on- Sea Lawn Tennis Club was one of the facilities identified by the Steering Group and successfully listed by Arun District Council.”
So if you have been inspired by the summer performances of Andy Murray, Heather Watson, Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley, and want to learn about the practical steps that you can take to protect the park courts, local club or community facilities in your neighbourhood, then find out more at My Community and in the Sport England Community Rights for Sport Guidance.
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