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Indoor tennis centre gets the go-ahead

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Indoor tennis centre gets the go-ahead

DUMFRIES will develop an indoor tennis “centre of excellence” that is expected to attract people from all over the country to the area.

Councillors last week agreed to serve up the extra funding to help make the new facility at the King George V complex a reality.

The cost of constructing a regional indoor centre has risen from £1.5m to more than £2m within the past 12 months, and it was feared that the proposal for a brand new three-court facility could collapse.

Having already committed £250,000 to the project in February last year, the local authority will now stump up an additional £221,000 to back the plans by Tennis Scotland.

This additional investment was approved at the council’s communities committee on Friday where Abbey Councillor Davie Stitt proposed allocating the six figure sum required, calling it a “great investment for Dumfries and Galloway.”

North West Dumfries Councillor Andy Ferguson, who has previously gone into the indoor tennis development plans in great detail, said: “This is a centre of excellence, it isn’t just another tennis court.

“For me, this is a small investment that’s going to bring events and people because it’s not just for Dumfries and Galloway, it’s for the whole of the south west of Scotland, Cumbria, and even further afield.”

Harry Hay, the council’s head of neighbourhood services, said: “Tennis Scotland identified Dumfries as one of their strategic priorities for Scotland.

“So, while primary access will be for residents of Dumfries and Galloway, certainly the whole business plan that’s outlined will include focusing on youths, coaching etc will maximise the use across the country.”

Mr Hay explained that councillors are being asked to support a cash injection of up to £221,000, but that efforts will be made to drawn in additional funding from external sources which may bring the overall cost to the council down.

The King George V complex, which is operated on behalf of the local authority by Queen of the South, already has three outdoor tennis courts.

Lee Seton, the council’s leisure, culture and wellbeing manager, explained that these would become a covered indoor tennis courts area.

And council officer Harry Hay added: “The focus for this particular facility – as indeed all our provision – is to try and make it as inclusive as possible.

“Certainly, we’ve already made a commitment to work with our community delivery partner in this regard to make sure that the use of it is maximised by all.”

It is unclear how long it will take to build the new indoor tennis centre, but a report providing updates is to be brought back to the communities committee in the coming month

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