TENNIS fans in Newtonhill could soon be playing on newly refurbished courts thanks to a local initiative.
The community’s desire to improve the current state of the courts was highlighted in 2009 during a public consultation event called Planning for Real and organisers have worked since then to move the project forward.
A council spokesman confirmed that the courts will be refurbished and said that tenders have been sought for the work, which will be supported by planning gain funding.
Vice-chair of Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore Community Council (NMCCC) Michael Morgan, who organised the Planning for Real exercise alongside Diane Collinson, said: “We are working closely with Aberdeenshire Council to select the right playing surface and equipment for this popular facility in Newtonhill Park.”
Local resident and tennis coach, Bruce McIver who has been supporting Mr Morgan and Ms Collinson in their efforts, is very enthusiastic about the possibility of having the completely refurbished tennis courts ready for the summer.
He said: “It’s fantastic news for the village. This is a facility for everyone as tennis is enjoyed equally by all age groups and both sexes and is currently booming throughout Scotland with the success of Andy Murray raising the game’s profile and providing such an inspiration.
“The sport needs to take full advantage of that situation and the more people we can get playing the game the better. Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise and enjoyment, increasing participation rates also gives us a better chance of finding the next Andy Murray!
“The courts in Newtonhill are currently on their last legs, so it will be great to see a well used, redeveloped facility right at the heart of the community.”
Following on from the Planning for Real event, the village is holding a Making it Real event at the Bettridge Centre on June 4 to let residents know about the progress made since 2009.
Mr Morgan said: “We have some good progress to report, but we want to make it an event where the whole community can come together with community groups to find out what is happening in the village and to swap ideas.
“We are inviting as many groups as we can think of, but if you want to start a new group or just make sure that you are included, then please contact us.”
He added: “At a time when the Council is being forced to cut back on services because of the funding crisis we need to help our village become more self sustaining. There are skills and ideas that can be matched to enthusiasm and determination to improve facilities for all in the village. “We are particularly keen to engage with the local community and enable them to have a voice on community planning and other matters.”
A picture exhibition on the theme of ‘What is good in Newtonhill?’ and ‘What needs to be improved in Newtonhill’ will also be held on the day, with more information on how to enter being provided nearer to June.
The event is being funded and actively supported by the Kincardine and Mearns Community Planning Group and by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Partnership (KMAP).
The organisers may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01569 763246 or 01569 730789.