£135k project to rejuvenate Bo’ness tennis courts

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PLANS to rejuvenate two dilapidated tennis courts on Harbour Road, Bo’ness, have been formally submitted to Falkirk Council planners, with a decision anticipated by next month.

If successful, the estimated £135,000 project would open the courts to club members, local schools, plus the community on a pay-as-you-play basis.

Bridgeness and Carriden Miners’ Welfare Club’s tennis section proposes to resurface the courts, put up a boundary wall, plus six floodlights and chain fencing.

Secretary Jennifer Leonard said: “Subject to planning permission and finalising our funding arrangements, we hope that Bo’nessians will soon be able to try out a game of tennis down at the renovated courts in Bo’ness.

“We would therefore invite anyone who is interested in getting involved or receiving future updates to get in touch with us.”

The two ex-blaes courts next to the bowling green and clubhouse have been derelict for over 30 years.

Jennifer said much work had been done to develop the plans, after informal consultation with Falkirk Council planners, the Lawn Tennis Association and Tennis Scotland.

At an August public meeting, attendees included six immediate neighbours from Bridgeness Road, who gave their unanimous backing to the plans.

Currently, the nearest tennis club with dedicated courts is 7km away in Linlithgow, as are the nearest public tennis facilities.

Under the plans, which the tennis section hopes could secure up to 50 per cent funding from SportScotland, levering in cash from other sources, the two courts would be brought up to LTA standards.

The scheme was approved by SportScotland in February as eligible for cash and as a potentially successful application, and its stage two submission must be completed within a year.

Work is not anticipated under the current foundations, but if needed once construction starts, an archaeological expert will keep watch. The courts sit next to the Antonine Wall buffer zone and there could potentially be unrecorded archaeological remains on the site.

In the planning statement by the tennis section, it is revealed play would be during the hours of 9am to 10pm, ‘so no significant disturbance of neighbours is expected’.

Metered floodlights would run from 4-10pm, with tokens sold at the social club. Lights would be reduced glare to avoid excessive light being shone on the road.

The statement said: “In recent years Bo’ness has sustained a number of successful and thriving sports clubs and associations providing competitive and leisure sports opportunities for local adults and children of all ages, as well as attracting visitors from the wider region, for example Bo’ness United, the Bo’ness Swimming Club and the recently established Bo’ness Rugby Club.

“The redevelopment of the tennis courts will continue to further develop the provision of leisure and sports facilities in Bo’ness.”

Councillor Ann Ritchie, at a Judy Murray-run practice session at the courts for Bo’ness children last summer, has been kept up to speed on the club’s plans.

“I’m getting brilliant feedback from people, who think it’s a great idea,” she said, adding that a club taster session held at the Public School on Fair E’en had been a success with youngsters and adults alike.

*View the plans/comment online at www.falkirk.gov.uk