NEW COURT UPDATE
Information on the project to expand facilities and build 3 new courts
New courts completed and ready for play- 1st April, 2017
No - it's not an April Fool - We have finally got the go-ahead to play on the new courts and they are wonderful. It will take a few weeks for the sand to settle into the carpet but already our members are reporting that the new surface is very comfortable on the joints, has a nice slow true bounce and the bright colours are even brighter under the floodlights which are very effective. The new nets are heavy duty 'Wimbledon' standard and complete the professional appearance of this new facility. We hope to have many years of tennis on these excellent courts and we appreciate the cooperation of Ards & North Down Council in using our first choice surface - the Matchplay 2 needlepunch carpet by Playrite.
Update 19 Mar 2017
Work underway on final stage of project - laying of the outdoor carpet. This requires dry weather and mild temperatures. Last week the contractors completed one court before the wet weather arrived on Thursday. Forecast is mostly dry for coming week so we are hopeful all 3 courts will be ready for next weekend.
Update 17 Feb 2017
The new courts opened yesterday for Club members and last night about 12 people played in our first Clubplay session since September.
Update 14 Feb 2017
Construction has been substantially completed. Council is dealing with a few minor snagging issues before allowing us to play on the new courts. For a short period we will play on the tarmac surface while waiting for the warmer conditions necessary for laying of the final surface.
Update 20 Sep 2016
The contractor has arrived on site this morning and there will be a sod-cutting ceremony tomorrow with the Mayor and Chief Executive.
pdate 02 Sep 2016
A start date of 19th September has been confirmed for the works and the contractor has been appointed. The works are expected to take between 10 and 14 weeks taking us up to some time in December. We have made arrangements for our members to play at Donaghadee and St Pats tennis clubs during the closure.
update Aug 2016
The contract for the new courts will be placed following the Council meeting next week and Work is due to start on 05 Sept 2016. Contract period is a maximum of 16 weeks but may be completed earlier.
Update Jun 2016
The Council Scheme to replace the existing courts with 3 new courts is progressing with the works now expected to commence in early August 2016. The purchase of the additional land required for the scheme was completed in October 2015, and a design consultant appointed. The scheme has now been fully designed and the revised budget + Economic Appriasal approved by Council in May 2016. The scheme went out to tender at the end of May and we await news of the appointment of the successful contractor.
Background to the scheme....
Additional tennis court - delayed!
The project to provide 2 additional tennis courts was approved by Ards Council in January 2012 (2 years ago). Since then the project has encountered several obstacles, including a planning objection from NI Environment Agency which reduced the project to a single additional court. Planning permission was granted for the revised scheme in March 2013. The purchase of a small area of land which should have been dealt with at the outset has been abandoned by Council as terms could not be agreed with the landowner. Following extensive lobbying and consultation with councillors, MLAs and our MP, Council has re-opened negotiations for the land purchase and set out alternative options for develoment if the land is not acquired. We are working closely with the Head of Leisure Services and our Councillors to upgrade the tennis facilities at Cloughey.
DRAP grant - undermined!
As part of the planning application a small timber clubhouse building was approved to be sited beside the new tennis court. Our application for a DRAP grant of 75% of the cost (with the Club providing 25%) was well advanced when Ards Council refused to provide an assurance that we would be given a lease on the site. This forced us to withdraw our application with the loss of approx £30k in potential grant money for the benefit of the local community. We still plan to provide a small clubhouse and will revisit this issue with Council to discuss a solution.
Existing courts - in poor condition!
The acrylic surface on the existing 2 courts was installed in 2008 with a projected life of 15 years (with repainting after 7 years). The surface began to break up within 2 years and the areas of maximum wear received temporary repairs, being patched with new material. These 2012 patches began to break up within 6 month and holes appeared in the Summer of 2013. We asked the Council on several occasions to carry out further temporary repairs pending a decision on the new court, when all 3 courts could be resurfaced.
We are pleased to report (March 2014) that further patching has been carried out at the back of both courts. Some of this new material is in good condition but in other places it is already beginning to crumble. Additional small patches on the playing area were also carried out and these protrude above the surface causing bad bounces. We have reported this to Council and asked them to re-lay these green patches.
Why expansion of facilities is important
Cloughey is situated in a fairly remote and economically deprived rural area with few sports facilities particularly for children. We believe that our Club has provided an excellent service for families within a large catchment area covering all of the lower Ards Peninsula, including Portaferry, Portavogie, Kircubbin, Ballyhalbert, as well as the rural hinterland. We have had members from as far away as Ballywalter and Greyabbey. In addition, Tennis is one of the few cross-community activities in the area, and the majority of our members are juniors. In 2013 we had approx 70 juniors and since 2008 over 200 children have taken part in tennis activities through the club.
The extra court is required to accommodate league matches as 3 courts is the minimum number for most of the main leagues. At present we play in the smaller leagues where jsut 4 players are involved. It is simply not possible to host a tournament with only 2 courts. The extra court will also enable us to have coaching at the same time as club-play which would provide a lot more flexibility in whcih nights the coaching groups take place. We would like some reassurance that the Council is committed to providing more courts and is doing everything possible to achieve it within the shortest possible time-frame.
We will shortly be working with the local schools, Primary and Secondary to offer tennis within the PE curriculum or as an 'after schools' activity.
Now for the good news....
Clubmark - achieved!
Our recent achievement of Clubmark accreditation recognises excellence in Administration, Coaching, Competition, and Safeguarding, and makes us one of the best Clubs of any kind in the Ards Council area. We are only the 8th tennis club in Northern Ireland to achieve this award - and the youngest.
We entered teams into 7 different leagues last year.
15 of our juniors entered open tournaments last year and some have won trophies at U14 and U12 level
11 juniors played in the U14 Boys and Girls league teams.
One of our Juniors was joint winner of the 2010 Bangor Mini Tennis series (U8 section)
The Club was voted runner up in the 'friendliest club' competition organised by Ulster Tennis.
Over to you!
Please help us to continue this work, by contacting your local representatives as soon as possible, and telling them what you think about the Club and the current difficulties we have encountered. You could mention the service we give to children in the area, and our vision of producing a few champions in the coming years and what you think the Council should do. Put your thoughts into your own words and your email can be as short or long as you like - the important thing is to make contact and let these people know of your concern. There will be elections in May 2014 for the new councils so now is a good time to get in touch.
A list of councillors, and other elected representatives with their email addresses can be found below. If you know a councillor personally by all means speak to them, but we believe that email is probably the most effective way to lobby. We have included some more useful information about the benefits of tennis as a healthy activity if you wish to draw on them when writing to the politicians.
Email addresses for Local representatives and council officers (you can cut&paste these into your email)
Member of Parliament
Jim Shannon - email@example.com
Kieran McCarthy - firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Mcilveen - email@example.com
Mike Nesbitt - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive: Ashley Boreland - Ashley.email@example.com
Head of Leisure Services: Ian O'Neill - Ian.ONeill@ards-council.gov.uk
Local councillors for the Peninsula area
firstname.lastname@example.org (the Mayor)