A large crowd turned out for the turf-cutting ceremony at the launch of work to build Grantham Tennis Club’s new £3.2 million facility at Arnoldfield on Friday.
The official groundbreaking was carried out by club chairman Lianne Tapson and former British tennis number one and TV presenter Andrew Castle, who is a friend of the club.
Also joining in was Grantham MP Nick Boles, and David Knifton and Salv Martell of Clegg Construction who will build the new tennis centre.
Once completed, the ambitious facility will house four indoor acrylic courts, a social lounge, cafe, gym, changing facilities, treatment rooms, office and indoor and outdoor viewing areas. Outside, there will be four artificial grass courts, four mini red hard courts and five artificial clay courts.
Work on the tennis centre will be completed in two phases, allowing the club to remain open while construction takes place. The new facility is scheduled to open in March next year.
Funding for the project has come from Grantham businesses and £1m in grants and loans from the Lawn Tennis Association.
Prior to the groundbreaking ceremony, Grantham Tennis Club junior organiser Sarah Patton addressed the assembled audience and thanked the various people that have contributed to making the project come to fruition after more than four years of planning.
Chairman Lianne said they were somewhat surprised at the enthusiastic turnout, which numbered around 150: “We were amazed by the number of people at the groundbreaking. It was a super day; everyone had been looking forward to it.”
Lianne said that the impetus to build the ambitious new centre was fuelled by the need for more court space, with club membership hovering around 500.
She said: “We’ve run out of court space for the numbers we have. We are looking to the development of youngsters and have run out of space for coaching.
“We asked members what they’d like and they said indoor courts.”
Lianne said the half million grant and half million loan from the LTA were the biggest to have been issued in the last two years.
She said: “We are quite special in the eyes of the LTA.”