Bedford Borough Council and the LTA announce partnership to refurbish park tennis courts

Mowsbury tennis courts

In a boost to local sports facilities, Bedford Borough Council has secured £370,000 of funding to refurbish park tennis courts across the borough.

The investment is part of a £30million nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), to refurbish thousands of public tennis courts across Great Britain.

In addition to improving the courts through a mixture of resurfacing, repainting and new nets, there will be new gate-access technology and an online booking system. These will be introduced later in the Spring to make it easier for players to find, book and get on a court.

Refurbishment works at four Mowsbury Park courts began late last year, and the next courts due to receive work are at Allen Park tennis courts, scheduled to begin week commencing 22 January 2024. Southfields, Kempston courts, as well as those at Bedford Park, Linden Road, Addison Howard Park and Russell Park in Bedford also have refurbishments and / or improvements planned.

Significant works will be taking place at Bedford Park, where the courts are being entirely reconfigured from a nine-court to a three-court site. This is necessary to protect the surrounding mature trees and ensure that the courts are not damaged by tree roots in the future. The tennis courts in Russell Park will also be re-configured to ensure that the court surface can be adequately maintained, and that the much-valued trees are protected and preserved.

The repainting of the playing surfaces and marking permanent lines will take place in the spring when the weather is suitable for the paint to dry properly. Until this time, temporary playing lines will be marked at the Mowsbury Park and Bedford Park courts to ensure the courts are available for play.  

The council is currently working to appoint an operator to manage the courts and run a variety of programmes to get more people playing tennis in Bedford Borough.

The council and LTA will work alongside the appointed operator to deliver free tennis sessions on the courts, providing regular opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and play. Local tennis leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition. 

A court booking fee will be introduced for other times, with money raised going towards a sink fund to ensure the courts can be maintained to a high standard for years to come. More details of this will be released once a successful operator is in place.

Jim Weir, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways, and Transport at Bedford Borough Council, said, “The refurbishment of tennis courts in various parks across Bedford Borough aligns with our commitment to provide top-notch recreational facilities for all our residents.

“The new tennis court operating model will ensure the long-term sustainability of these courts, securing a legacy for future generations. This transformative project underscores our ongoing efforts to make Bedford Borough parks inclusive, fostering a healthier and more engaged community.”

Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said, “We are delighted to be working with Bedford Borough Council to improve their park tennis facilities and provide more opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and get active.

“This investment is part of the UK Government and LTA’s Parks Tennis Project and will mean that courts will be available for people to use for years to come. We will also be working closely with Bedford Borough Council to ensure that the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court and open up our sport to many more people.”

Throughout this project, accessibility has been a central focus, with an emphasis on making Bedford Borough Council owned tennis courts and parks accessible for all. These exciting refurbishments, improvements and operational changes will not only rejuvenate the parks but also provide increased opportunities for the local community to stay active, contributing to improved health and well-being.

Learn more about sport and physical activity available in Bedford Borough at

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