ACCESS to the free tennis courts in Langland could change under proposals being considered by Mumbles Community Council following complaints about damage and their use by people playing football.
It could mean booking the courts via an app, which would unlock a gate via a code, possibly in tandem with a hiring fee although nothing has been decided as yet.
The community council leases three of the six Langland courts from Swansea Council and has invested just over £100,000 in two of them. It created a temporary basketball court on the third at a cost of just under £11,000.
Concerns have been raised about inappropriate use of and damage to the two refurbished courts. It has also been suggested that paid-for tennis coaching takes place on them, blocking others who want to play for fun.
The community council will now ask the organisation Tennis Wales to look into a locking system, provided the community council retained control of any hiring fees.
Council chairman Martin O’Neill said there were differing views about hiring fees when the matter was discussed by councillors, and that it was not necessarily the case that they would be introduced.
“At this point we are investigating how we might go about booking the courts and the decision as to how we go about that has not been taken at this point – we are currently considering options available,” said Dr O’Neill.
“The community council has invested in the three courts and will continue to invest so as to ensure they provide the best local facilities within the budget we have and best satisfy the needs of users.”
The courts used to host the Swansea Tennis Junior Championships, whose winners once included a very young Andy Murray. The double Wimbledon singles champion’s mother Judy Murray supported campaigners in 2017 when it emerged that Swansea Council was considering potential redevelopment of two of the six courts.
Swansea Council did invite tenders for redevelopment of the two tennis courts nearest Surfside Cafe while keeping the adjacent one for potential use as a compound. But no suitable tenders were received. It is understood that a new tender process is planned with a more specific tourism-related brief.
A member of the public, who asked not to be named, said he was concerned about any suggestion of hiring fees. “I think this is wholly the wrong approach and makes a sport not accessible to everybody and almost an elite sport,” the person said.
David Jones, manager of the Langland Brasserie, said there were issues with a minority of young people in the evenings at the car park and on the beach but that he wasn’t aware of problems on the courts.
“It’s nothing significant,” he said. “The two PCSOs (police community support officers) were here the other night doing their usual patrols.”