Lamentable state

PUBLISHED: 09:31 10 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 May 2010

WITH Wimbledon upon us, the lamentable state of Weston's public tennis courts is, once again, thrown into painful relief. It wasn't so long ago the town had courts in all the major parks as well as the Winter Gardens

WITH Wimbledon upon us, the lamentable state of Weston's public tennis courts is, once again, thrown into painful relief. It wasn't so long ago the town had courts in all the major parks as well as the Winter Gardens. These days, the only bookable courts are the noisy, road-pressed facilities at Hutton Moor, and they barely register on the radar of a visitor to the town. And for sure, even if those putative tennis playing visitors could find Hutton Moor, they would be unlikely to want to repeat such a hostile experience.The Ashcombe Park courts were delightful and sheltered - indeed the favourite place in the town to play the game, whether or not you belonged to a club. The Ashcombe courts are now unplayable and have joined those at Grove Park to become shabby, unguarded wrecks - a catalogue of civic neglect.When the Winter Gardens' courts were lost to the conference and Sovereign Shopping Centre developments, tennis players in Weston were strongly reassured that the Grove and Ashcombe Park courts would be upgraded and maintained. Indeed, part of the money acquired through releasing the tennis and putting course land was to be set aside to compensate for the lost courts. It never happened - a further example of local government dishonesty. Part of the problem seems to be that few North Somerset officers live in Weston - so there is little heartfelt engagement with the town.The annual Weston Mercury Tennis Tournament was an attractive and well supported local occasion which, along with the Somerset County Cricket Festival, has almost slipped beyond recall. How about the newspaper giving North Somerset Council a hard dig in the ribs, and shaming it by reinstituting the tournament on condition the courts are restored? Weston's tennis courts are a small thing - but it's becoming clear; it's the small things that count.ROSIE AND HOWARD SMITH - Stafford Place, Weston

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