We passionately believe that tennis should be accessible to everyone. We also recognise, through bitter experience, that the Scottish climate inhibits the growth and development of our sport. We lose around 3-4 weeks every year due to frost/snow. Whilst the majority of our members are a hardy bunch who’ll play whenever the courts are playable, it’s impossible to quantify how many hours of play are missed through people being put-off by inclement weather. We therefore strongly believe that quality, affordable indoor facilities are essential if we want to establish tennis as a mass participation sport and grow tomorrow’s champions.
We want to meet these challenges head-on by building 4 covered tennis courts in Rutherglen. Built by tennis players for tennis players, they will meet the needs of all; young and old, novice to elite, getting more people playing tennis more often – rain, hail or shine! Or, as we like to say reign, hale and shine!
We’re deliberately using the word “covered” rather than “indoor” as the courts may not be completely enclosed to keep costs down. Cost is going to be fundamental to the success of this project. If it’s not affordable then we won’t build it. Also, the lower cost we can achieve, the more affordable and accessible it will be to the community. This will be a no-frills facility. We just want to keep the wind and rain off players and keep the courts free of snow and frost allowing us to play in all-weather.
We’re working towards a “Heads of Terms” agreement with South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) to lease a plot of land in Overtoun Park between the BMX track and Overtoun Bowling Club, where 8 blaes courts once thrived up to the late 1980s. This would give us a window of opportunity and confidence to develop the detailed plans and secure planning permission and funding for the new facility. The lease would only go live once we start invasive work meaning that we had achieved this position and were starting to build the new facility.
The new facility will comprise 4 courts, taking our total number of courts to 11, 2 Padel-Tennis courts (the first in Glasgow), gym area, changing and showering facilities, a social space, café area and spectator terrace, all under one big roof. In addition to enabling truly all-weather play, it will give us the extra space we need to continue to grow and expand. Whilst we thought that our expansion into our new Burnside facility would give us all the space we would ever need, our membership continues to grow at pace and we are now heading towards the recommended capacity for our seven outdoor courts.
Rutherglen Lawn Tennis Club would build, own, operate and manage this new facility as a second annex to our main Viewpark facility, our home since 1922. This project will be very similar in nature to our Burnside courts which we saved in 2017 through our #ReturnToSplendour Project creating our first annexed site.
These three facilities would combine to establish a vibrant hub for tennis in Rutherglen allowing truly all-weather play.
Increasing the number of accessible and affordable indoor courts in communities across Scotland is crucial if we are to be able to create year round play and competition. Outwith the commercial sector (David Lloyd Clubs, Gleneagles Hotel), 4 local authority tennis centres and 4 educational establishments (2 universities and 2 fee paying schools) there are just three tennis clubs in the country with 7 indoor courts between them. For a country that can boast 3 world number 1s and multiple Grand Slam titles in the past 13 years, this is incredibly disappointing.
We must encourage our clubs to consider options to grow and to survive but most are small and in built up areas without space to expand or cover over, and many lack the expertise or ambition to do so. Rutherglen has that ambition and the expertise to expand in order to fully embrace the opportunity to open tennis up to their local community. Gareth Ellor and his team have proved this time and again with creative and far-reaching coaching programmes for members and non members, a social calendar that is the envy of clubs across the UK and competitions for all ages stages and backgrounds. They even took over another ailing local club in Burnside and created a satellite hub. They are one of the most successful and inspiring community clubs in Scotland and the next stage of their vision is their pay and play indoor court project which would keep their programmes running all year.
If only we had more clubs as visionary, ambitious, pro active and welcoming as Rutherglen, tennis in Scotland would be in a much stronger position.
This “Summary Document” presents an overview of the information presented in our detailed “Proposal Document” which will be submitted to SLC to hopefully agree “Heads of Terms” and which will be further expanded in time to provide the information required to support our funding applications. Some information has been copied directly out of the detailed proposal document, some information has been summarised and some specific details which are not relevant to a wide audience have been omitted for brevity.
It is a work in progress and will be updated regularly to show our progress. As such, it does not present a definitive, final position on certain elements. It has primarily been published to provide more detailed information on our plans and progress to support a public consultation which we are embarking on to determine whether there is community support for the proposal and whether the facility can exist in the proposed location in a way which delivers a clear, positive benefit to the community.
|Overton Covered Courts Summary Document (Version 1)|
To inform our detailed Proposal Document which we are preparing to submit to South Lanarkshire Council, we have commissioned an independent research company, IBP Strategy & Research, to conduct a comprehensive public consultation via an online survey.
We want as many people as possible to get involved in this consultation exercise to make sure we fully test community appetite for this facility and, if we do progress the plans further, allow us to shape them to meet the needs and aspirations of the community wherever we possibly can within the constraints of the project. This project will only proceed if we can demonstrate community support, so we really hope that the community will get behind our plans allowing us to deliver something really exciting that the whole community can enjoy for years to come.