Wells tennis club logo with relocation update written on it

Proposed relocation of Wells Tennis Club

Dear Members

We’re currently starting the initial stages of the project to agree the layout and facilities for the possible re-location of Wells Tennis Club with Wells Rugby Football Club (WRFC) to a new site at Haybridge providing a maximum of 7 floodlit courts and shared clubhouse.
Wells Rugby Club wants to sell its current site to raise funds so it can move to another larger site it owns to improve its facilities.  Their current site was sold to them a number of years ago by Mendip District Council (MDC) at an attractive price but with a “restrictive covenant” stating that if sold the profit must benefit other outdoor sporting organisations in Wells besides themselves.  To meet this covenant the sporting clubs on Wells Recreation Ground (which is rented from MDC) were offered the opportunity to re-locate. However the football, netball and archery clubs declined but the tennis club accepted the offer to explore the opportunity of re-locating to enhance its facilities and cater for future development.  Since the beginning of 2015 we have been working with the Rugby Club and MDC to progress the project.
Current Position
We are now reviewing with the WRFC the draft layout/facilities for the new site.  The architect has produced a layout which we are looking at together before the production of the final plans which will then be put forward to MDC for planning approval by the end of this year.  This draft plan now gives the tennis club 7 floodlit courts, with enough room for 2 of those courts to be covered, a clubroom and kitchen, a viewing area and room for storage.
Our facilities would be in part of the WRFC clubhouse which would be significantly larger than their current one.  It is planned to be built on 2 levels containing 2 function rooms and bars, a gymnasium and an on- site physiotherapist, a number of changing rooms and separate toilet facilities on 2 levels, a meeting room and at least 2 offices for staff employed by the Rugby Club.  The Tennis Club would have access to all these facilities as well as our own designated area.  It is anticipated that there would be no significant increase in our rental costs which would now be paid to the WRFC instead of MDC through the Wells Sports Club.
The committee have seen the draft plans and in principle agree with them as it would improve and enhance both the tennis and social facilities that can be offered to our members.  It would also give more scope for expansion and development of the club without any financial burden as the project would be funded out of the proceeds of the sale of the WRFC current site.  As all the tennis facilities would be new an additional benefit in the first few years would be a reduction in our maintenance costs and the opportunity to build up our financial reserves to cover future refurbishment and development costs.
However, if Wells Tennis Club wanted to enhance the project facilities by replacing tarmac surfaces with another(astro or clay) or covering 2 courts this would have to be funded by the club through reserves, grants and loans.  The re-location sub committee will be looking into the feasibility of these possibilities over the next few months.
The timescale for the project is by the end of 2015 to finalise the new site’s layout and facilities so that by early 2016 MDC can lift the covenant and grant planning approval for building development on the WRFC’s current site and also for the new site’s sports facilities.  The WRFC’s current site will (hopefully) then by sold in mid 2016 and funds then be available to start developing the new site so that it is completed by September 2017.
When the re-location proposal was first put forward by MDC in 2013 the club had a meeting at which the re-location was agreed in principle which is still fully supported by the committee.  However, we would like club members’ opinions and ideas to help us ensure we are doing what members want.  This information will then help us in our negotiations with WRFC before agreeing to the final plans and agreement. 
We look forward to hearing your comments (click here to send us your views via our contact page).
Kind regards
Brian Clarke (Chairman)
On behalf of the WTC Committee

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