Major asphalt tennis courts upgrade in Essex
Little Clacton Tennis Club celebrates 70th birthday with major facilities upgrade and industry standard asphalt tennis courts
May 2019 saw our friends at Little Clacton Tennis Club in Essex celebrate a hugely important event – and not just because this year marks the club’s 70th anniversary. The opening of a new eco-friendly clubhouse – serving four state-of-the-art asphalt tennis courts previously designed and installed by ETC Sports Surfaces – is the culmination of a 12-year journey fraught with planning and funding challenges. On the brink of folding just a few years ago, Little Clacton Tennis Club’s tenacious battle to safeguard the club for future generations even recently made it to the pages of The Telegraph!
ETC Sports Surfaces played a key role in this upgrade programme, by installing four brand new all-weather hard tennis courts with associated access, floodlighting and equipment, all designed to meet SAPCA and LTA specifications. Our design and construction works, completed in June 2017, formed part of a larger, ongoing £500K rejuvenation project that has spanned several years, and now we’re delighted to see Little Clacton Tennis Club celebrate 70 years by opening their new clubhouse, the final element of the project to be unveiled!
High specification hard tennis courts for a forward-looking tennis club
Amongst the challenges associated with this project was the need to meet strict planning controls specified by the local authority, as Club Secretary, John Russel, explains. “It was intended that our new facility should include the latest eco-friendly technology, including state-of-the-art LED tennis court floodlights and renewable energy sources to run our new pavilion,” he says. “In addition, we were obliged to ensure increased player accessibility to the asphalt tennis courts and other facilities, a strict planting regime to soften the hard finishes, and a fully surfaced car park. Maintenance and emergency vehicle access also needed to be provided, as well as 3.6 metre permanent screening to protect the privacy of adjoining residential properties. Preliminary works had to take account of statutory electricity provision – not only to supply energy to light the club’s new tennis court surfaces and fuel the clubhouse, but also to ensure service provision to a new housing development next door.”
This, then, was a complex project, with many planning considerations and stakeholders involved. Recognising the importance of delivering the highest quality specification, our specialist team at ETC Sports Surfaces went all out to support the club with intelligent solutions and an adaptable on-site approach from day one. “When tendering for the installation of the new hard tennis courts, ETC provided a competitive but realistic price, using the SAPCA specification but also offering advice and design alternatives to achieve the quality that we, the club committee, felt was so essential,” John continues. “This involved co-ordinating with both suppliers and nominated sub-contractors, as well as liaising with the representative of the LTA who was charged with attaining the highest standard of workmanship.”
Delivering SAPCA compliant tennis court surfaces in challenging on-site conditions
Having encountered previous problems with clay-heave on their old hard tennis courts, the club committee was seeking a solution that would provide “the most robust sub-base, supported by a belt and braces drainage system,” John says. We identified BREEDONPlaycourt asphalt as the most suitable surface to meet this customers’ expectations. It’s a highly durable, free draining asphalt guaranteeing all-weather play and minimal tennis court maintenance, whilst also complying with SAPCA guidelines. We also recommended angle iron fencing from our friends at JB Corrie & Co – a chainlink fencing solution that’s ideal for tennis courts in a residential setting, due to its generous height allowances and ball-deadening properties which minimise disturbance for neighbours.
During the project, which also included the fitting of eco-friendly tennis court floodlights, access pathways and finishing equipment, our on-site team was hit with many challenges – not least adverse weather which halted works for six weeks and caused serious waterlogging issues. “The fact that all requirements were met, with the asphalt tennis courts and all associated works delivered on target despite unfavourable conditions, is testament to ETC Sports Surfaces’ efficient, well organised and professional service,” says John. “Our club members found them to be competent, responsive, helpful and friendly at all times and we would not hesitate to recommend them to other potential customers. Little Clacton Tennis Club now rivals the best tennis clubs in the area. The project has given us a new lease of life and membership is booming.”
It’s wonderful to see Little Clacton Tennis Club celebrating its milestone anniversary with the completion of the £500K upgrade, and the whole team at ETC Sports Surfaces is extremely proud to have played such a major role in this project. We wish the club and all its members many decades of enjoyment on their new asphalt tennis courts!
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Little Clacton Tennis Club has undertaken a programme of complete asset reconstruction to replace two hard and four grass courts and a portable 70-year-old asbestos clubhouse. This was funded by the sale of a portion of the site for housing and was subject to strict controls imposed by the local Planning Authority. It was intended that the new facility would include the latest technology, in both the playing facilities and accommodation, embracing the provision of state-of-the-art LED floodlighting and renewable energy sources to run the pavilion.
The planning permission requirements included a demand for increased player accessibility, a strict planting regime to soften the hard finishes plus a fully surfaced car park. The budget for the complete scheme was over £500k.
The club were looking for four new all-weather courts to be constructed to the highest specification with the best quality fencing & gates designed to allow maintenance and emergency vehicle access. Two sides of fencing, adjoining private property, were required to be 3.6m high with permanent windbreaks / screening attached.
Following significant clay-heave problems encountered with the previous hard courts the club was looking for the most robust sub-base supported by a belt-and-braces drainage system. Weed membranes were required where existing vegetation demanded and the upgrading of some boundary fencing.
ETC provided a competitive but realistic price to complete the project, using the SAPCA specification, but at the same time offered advice and design alternatives required to achieve the product quality that the club demanded. This involved co-ordinating with both the suppliers and nominated sub-contractors plus liaising with the representative of the LTA who was charged with attaining the highest standard of workmanship.
Preliminary works had included planning for the diversion of overhead 11Kv electricity cables plus service provision for the housing developer and future clubhouse. Discussions with the Statutory Undertakers were an essential part of the scheme preparation.
Following commencement in January 2017 the scheme was halted for six weeks due to adverse weather conditions. Due to waterlogged ground the design was upgraded to stabilise the sub-base by the use of additional imported stone and geotextile material. The courts were completed for use in early June with the colour coat added in September.
The fact is that all requirements were met, on target and at times in conditions unfavourable for such construction works, and is a testament to the efficient, well organised and professional organisation that the company provides.
The members of the club found the representatives of the company very competent, responsive, helpful and above all friendly & considerate at all times. We would not hesitate to recommend ETC Sports to other potential customers and are pleased to be able to promote their name via the screening attached to the court fencing.