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Council serves a volley of improvements at its leisure centres

The upgrade of Vale of White Horse District Council’s leisure centres continues with the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon now ‘ready for tennis’ at any time of the year.

The council has just installed a new sand-based Artificial Turf Pitch (ATP) at four tennis courts at the centre. The new surface means the tennis courts can be used in all weather conditions throughout the year, important for tournaments as well as for local tennis enthusiasts.

The old astroturf – which had come to the end of its life as a surface to play sports on – has been carefully recovered and stored by the contractors for repurposing. Previously, similar surfaces have had a new lease of life in community landscaping projects as erosion control or rainwater harvesting. It might also be reused as flooring for outdoor classrooms, temporary events or a golf putting green.

The upgrade of the courts – using £165,500 of developer contributions – follows the recent refurbishment of the vanity area, the addition of a wheelchair accessible area and the planned renovation of the reception area.

In addition, contractors have just been appointed to install the multi-million pound major energy-saving work at both White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre and Wantage Leisure Centre. This will involve the installation of insulation, new windows, solar panels, air source heat pumps and external wall insulation. Once completed, the measures are expected to reduce the council’s overall carbon emissions by more than 25 per cent. This work is expected to be completed by March 2025.

Along with the energy-saving work taking place at Wantage Leisure Centre, the council also have plans to refurbishment the wet side changing rooms over the next year, adding a further upgrade to the town’s leisure facilities.  

This also follows the installation of solar panels and air source heat pumps at Faringdon Leisure Centre last year. Those measures should save around 500,000kWh of energy over a year – the equivalent to the annual electricity use of 135 houses.

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Community Health and Wellbeing said: “We know sport is vitally important for our health and wellbeing so, as a council, we are investing in our existing leisure centres to update and upgrade them to make them the best they can be for everyone who uses them.”

Cllr Andrew Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property said: “Thanks to the new green technology which is going to be installed at both leisure centres in Wantage and Abingdon, energy bills will be greatly reduced. This means the leisure centres are sustainable both financially and from a climate point of view.”

Notes to editors

The £165,500 for the new tennis court surfaces comes from CIL and S106 funding, which are developer contributions used for projects in the local area.

The new 3G artificial surface will require less maintenance by GLL who manage the centre and facilities on behalf of the council and fewer chemicals which will make it more environmentally friendly.

The council is investing a further £400,000 to upgrade the remaining tennis courts at the White Horse Tennis and Leisure Centre in a phased programme of work.

For information on the decarbonisation work at our leisure centres please see our webpage.

More details on the council’s plans for its leisure facilities are available here.