After much debate, hard work and saving up for seven years, we are about to embark on a major upgrade of the hard courts (4, 5 and 6).
These courts have always suffered from subsidence and have an uneven surface.
They were refreshed with new tarmac back in 2006 and they were also patched up to repair root damage a few years ago.
Every year the club ring-fences a portion of the income as a “sinking fund” to be only spent on renovating the playing surfaces, lights and fencing. This reached £65,000 last November.
We are now going to have three areas of subsidence excavated and replaced with proper foundation stone. Then the whole surface (after being pierced and the holes filled with fine gravel for drainage) will be covered with a further 125 mm of foundation stone.
The whole surface will be covered with a 32 mm tarmac finished surface.
This surface will have temporary lines painted and remain in this state until the spring of 2019.
We must wait until the temperature is high enough for final painting. There will be four red court markings on Court 4 and orange court baselines on courts 5 and 6: this is to support and encourage junior tennis and to allow us to host LTA junior events.
While the court surface is awaiting the final paint, tennis balls will get dirty quite quickly from the raw tarmac.
This work will mean that courts 4-6 will be stable and secure for the foreseeable future and puts the club on an even better footing than now.
The work will start on approximately Monday 24 September and will take six weeks, plus an extra two weeks before the temporary lines can be applied as the raw tarmac has to ‘cure’.
The start could be a week earlier, or a week later, depending on the progress of the contractor’s current projects.
There is no allowance for inclement weather, so the likely court availability will be mid-November.
The courts will again be out of commission for one week in spring 2019 when they have the final paint finish.
There is going to be quite an impact on everyone only being able to use the three clay courts.
We obviously want to maximise the court time for members, but also accommodate the coaches as this is their main livelihood.
We will try and play all club matches during this period away from home.
There will not be any coaching at the same time as Friday and weekend afternoon club sessions (as now) and where possible the coaches will leave one court free for members’ use.
Some flexibility, sharing and compromise on all sides will be necessary for a short while.
There will also be some disruption to the grounds while the work progresses.
Deliveries will arrive through the double gates in Holland Road and be transferred in dumper trucks across the grass to courts 4 – 6.
Safety measures and traffic marshalling will be in place to maintain access to the courts and keep everyone safe.
During this time can I ask parents to be extra vigilant in monitoring their children to keep out of the working areas.
Before work commences, there will also be contractors clearing the vegetation behind the courts to ensure no roots could damage the new courts.
If you have any questions ask a member of the committee and we will of course keep you updated as new information is available.
This is the final piece of major work needed to put all the playing surfaces at Elmwood on a stable footing for the indefinite future.