Facilities at one of the region’s most successful tennis clubs are due to be upgraded.
Just two days after Andy Murray led his British team to Davis Cup glory – and then bemoaned the lack of coaching support for promising youngsters – Selkirk Tennis Club was granted a long lease on its popular three-court complex at Hillside Terrace.
The decision by Scottish Borders Council means that the club, which has a strong junior section, can now crack on with building new clubrooms for its burgeoning membership.
The move addresses an ownership anomaly which has persisted since 1950 when local businessman John Waters sold part of the land for the courts to the rector of neighbouring Selkirk High School.
A report to Tuesday’s meeting of SBC’s executive recommended that this area should now be formally transferred to the council which owns the rest of the site and currently charges the club £735 in rent under a leasing arrangement signed in 1998.
And that is also an anomaly.
“All other tennis clubs in the Borders have a rent-free lease from the council because the clubs, and not the council, are responsible for repairs and maintenance to courts and clubhouses,” stated the report from SBC’s estates surveyor James Morison.
Councillors were told that the club had drawn up plans to build a new clubhouse because the current building was in “poor condition” and required major refurbishment,
But in order the apply for the required funding from Lottery Scotland and the Lawn Tennis Association, the sport’s governing body, the ownership issue had to be clarified and a long-term lease put in place.
The executive thus agreed to offer the club a 25-year lease at a peppercorn rent, if requested, of just £1 a year.
Not only does that clear the club’s path to grant funding to improve facilities, it absolves the organisation of its annual rent burden.
In return, the club will take over responsibility for all repairs, maintenance, insurance and health and safety arrangements.
The new lease will also stipulate that the courts must continue to be available free at certain times for use by Selkirk High School.