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New tennis club proposed for former bowls site

Flagstaff Team


A group of local families is behind a scheme to create a new tennis club on the Devonport Domain site of the defunct Devonport Bowling Club.

The spokesperson for the “Cheltenham Tennis Club” group, Sam Yates, says those involved want to make it into a facility that can be used by all the community, every day, all year round.

“This has been a long time in the making. A few of us thought that there should be another tennis club round here and we began looking for a piece of land to buy. A few of us joined the bowling club and that was when we realised what a prime piece of land it was sitting on that could be enjoyed by a wider cross-section of the community.”

Earlier this year, Yates had an on-site meeting with Auckland Council to pitch the plan for a tennis club. The bowling club subsequently closed. “Basically we believe the 4000sqm site could be put to much better use and be used from morning till night all year round. The flat, sheltered site is ideal for tennis courts.”

The group wants to install green artificial turf courts. In addition to tennis, they envisage the club being used by other groups (fitness and boot camp), schools, coaches, other sporting codes as well as casual users.

“In essence, the facility will be used by a large cross-section of the peninsula community in a variety of uses and it is this inclusion that will be one of the founding principles,” Yates told a meeting of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board. The former greens would be turned into three tennis courts with the potential for a small basketball court.

Yates says the club would be self-funding, with initial development being financed by foundation member contributions and corporate sponsorship. In addition, members will pay an annual subscription and members of the public will be able to use the facility on a casual payment basis. Community groups will pay a modest fee to use the facility as will other commercial operators such as tennis coaches and other sporting groups.

It is hoped school groups will be able to use the facility free of charge. As well as the site’s seven dedicated car parks, there is ample parking available on Cambridge Tce, Yates says. And he expects many players who live locally will walk or cycle to the courts.

The existing club house would be renovated.

“We are fortunate to have a wide range of trade practitioners (such as construction, electrical, concrete) and professionals (lawyers, accountants) in the community who we intend to utilise in order to complete this project within a prudent budget.”

He says the installation of floodlights would come at a later date because of cost and would be subject to council approval.

Both North Shore Rugby Club and North Shore Cricket Club have expressed interest in taking over the bowling club site but Yates thinks the tennis club is a better bet.

“Tennis is no longer a seasonal game and is in fact played for 12 months of the year as well as being played at all times of the day, in contrast to the neighbouring cricket and rugby clubs which are only in use four to five months of the year. It is arguably a far more efficient use of this piece of land than any other sporting code.

“Both the rugby and cricket clubs are sitting on large chunks of land as it is and we feel that a club that is more inclusive of a wider range of residents is more appropriate in this situation.”

The proposal and those from the rugby and cricket clubs are being considered by the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board. Devonport Croquet Club is also interested in expanding its current amenities and facilities. Yates says there is a six- to nine-month timeline for the process during which he and others will be working behind the scenes. “There is really good support for a tennis club and we hope it could be up and running within a year.”

Source: Devonport Flagstaff 21 September 2018. View online.