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A Visit to AELTC Grand Drive


 On one of the glorious days of mid- September, I was invited along to the AELTC Community Sports Ground in Grand Drive to see for myself the progress that has been made on this amazing All England Club venture.

 From the moment I walked through the main entrance gates I was impressed at the amount thought that has gone into - not only the sports facilities themselves - but the whole ambience of the place, which is delightful.  The immediate feel is one of familiarity - a special extension of the All England Club itself – but with the specific purpose of working with young people, local schools and clubs, and with able and disabled alike.  There are significant landscaped areas planted out with a profusion of flowers - hydrangeas everywhere - and on the land bordering the properties in Cannon Hill Lane an amazing wildflower garden.  

 I was met by Catherine Edser, Duty Manager, Andrew Ambrose, and Ruth Edwards who after entertaining me to an excellent cup of coffee in the temporary club facilities took me around the site.

 Although only about halfway through the project, some of the facilities are already in use and the porous acrylic outdoor courts - all painted in the Wimbledon colours of purple and green - are being used by local schools, for special coaching. and I believe even Raynes Park Tennis Club members have been taking advantage of the first of two ‘bubbles’ - the huge inflatable air-conditioned, and beautifully lit structures – in which the indoor courts will be housed.

 Health & Safety is of paramount importance to Careys the Civil Engineering firm that is contracted to undertake all the groundworks and so we all had to don boots, hard hats, high viz jackets and special gloves before we could examine the ongoing and very extensive groundworks.

 The current focus is on completing the preparations for the second indoor facility; and excavating and then building the grass courts which will cover a significant proportion of the site.   Once finally prepared and seeded, these won’t be ready for use until the season of 2022, as it takes about two years for them to mature.  

 High in priority is good on-site drainage and the excavation of a sustainable drainage basin is currently underway. 

No doubt residents living around the grounds have suffered from the hustle, bustle  and inconvenience of  the development, but once finished, the benefits of overlooking a green and tranquil world class sports facility will be a reward in itself.

Jill Truman

Find out more, follow: https://communitytennis.aeltc.com/About

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