Oxford City Council is set to create Oxford’s first publicly-accessible floodlit tennis courts in Florence Park.
The £264,000 project will see new LED court lights – along with new nets, posts and surface – installed across all five of the park’s outdoor tennis courts.
The work will enable the park’s tennis courts to open into the evenings – adding 5,000 more playing hours at the facility for Oxford’s tennis players every year.
Work started at the end of August and is due to be completed at the end of October. The new timetable – which will see the facility’s closing time extended from dusk to 10pm – will be available from November.
The work will see LED (light-emitting diode) court lights installed across all five courts, which provide low level light spillage and support the City Council’s low carbon commitment.
The project has been funded by the Lawn Tennis Association and Oxford City Council. Both organisations contributed £132,240.
Oxford City Council owns more than 20 grass and hard tennis courts across Alexandra Park, Botley Recreation Ground, Bury Knowle Park, Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Hinksey Park, and Florence Park.
The City Council’s tennis facilities are run by Parks Tennis, which have been working in partnership with the City Council for three years to bring a range of low-cost tennis and coaching for all ages and abilities to Oxford's public parks.
More than 3,000 people played on the City Council’s courts in 2016 – the youngest player being just four years old and the oldest is currently 83.
One of the City Council’s key objectives is to increase participation in sport to help tackle health inequalities across Oxford. Men in the least deprived area of Oxford outlive those in the most deprived areas by an average of 9.3 years.
Last week work started on a £4.9m new sports park near Horspath, which will feature new football, cricket and softball pitches, practice areas, a pavilion and changing rooms. The facility will be completed in January.
This work follows the construction of the £9m Leys Pools and Leisure Centre in 2015, and the £4m Rose Hill Community Centre and £1m Oxford Spires Sport & Fitness last year. Later this year work will also be completed on the final part of a £4.5m redevelopment of the city’s sports pavilions.
Councillor Linda Smith, Executive Board Member for Leisure, Sport and Parks, said: “This investment in facilities at Florence Park is great news for tennis in Oxford, and the extra playing hours created by the new lighting will mean there will be more opportunity than ever before for Oxford residents to play. I know the ability to play until late in the evening will be a god-send for many keen players who lead busy lives.
“Florence Park is the jewel of East Oxford and earlier this year was awarded a Green Flag award for the high quality of its facilities, the upgraded tennis courts will further add to its attractions.”
For more information about tennis facilities across Oxford, visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/tennis.