Risca tennis courts replaced with artificial 3G pitches
The removal of tennis courts at Risca leisure centre will make it harder for people to get involved with the sport, according to a local tennis coach.
Steve Milne, from Tennis Connect Wales, a coaching company in Crosskeys, has said that removing tennis courts and replacing them with multi-use artificial pitches makes it harder for locals to emulate the success of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
Mr Milne said: “The removal of yet more public tennis facilities makes it even harder for local people to access the sport, especially those who do not have a nearby tennis club, or cannot afford membership fees.”
Tennis facilities at Risca Leisure Centre are being replaced by artificial 3G pitches – which can be used for a range of sports.
Caerphilly County Borough Council has defended the installation of the artificial pitches.
A spokesperson said: “Risca Leisure Centre has recently benefitted from the installation of two all-weather 3G pitch facilities which can be utilised for a range of sports.
“In addition, facilities specifically for tennis are also available for residents to enjoy in nearby Ynysddu and Pontymister.”
Last year Caerphilly county Borough Council invested around £70,000 in revamping tennis courts around the county borough – including the courts on Fields Park Road, Pontymister.
Cllr Dave Poole, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, said: “Usage at the Pontymister tennis courts has improved significantly, proving that our investment in local tennis facilities has been more than worthwhile.
“We are committed to providing healthy and active opportunities for all residents of the borough and I am pleased that the fine weather and the recent successes in international sport have encouraged everyone to get out and get active using their local courts.”
The new 3G pitches at Risca lesiure centre are part of a £200,000 improvement scheme that includes a new gym and gym equipment.
Mr Milne at Tennis Connect Wales said: “It’s not all sweetness and light for local people, especially those with an interest in playing tennis.”
He added: “Tennis is widely accepted as one of the best sports around for lifelong participation, as it can be played by all ages.
“With variations such as ‘Touch Tennis’ and ‘Cardio Tennis’ becoming increasingly popular too, it’s also a great way to keep fit and healthy, regardless of an individual’s ability.
“Despite all of this, management at Risca Leisure Centre did nothing to promote or encourage the use of the tennis courts, prior to making the decision to get rid of them.
Mr Milne continued, saying: “Given that the main purpose of a local authority leisure centre is to increase participation in sport amongst the local community, I’m hugely disappointed by their decision to replace the tennis courts with five-a-side football pitches, when the option already exists to play this indoors.”
The works at Risca Leisure Centre are set to be completed towards the end of July.
• Residents in Caerphilly County Borough can use council-run tennis courts for free every Monday this summer until September 2.
The tennis courts at the following locations will be open for ‘turn up and play’ unsupervised tennis between 10am and 8pm.
Ystrad Mynach Park
Morgan Jones Park
Find the addresses of the above locations at www.caerphilly.gov.uk/parklife.