PLANS to carry out much-needed refurbishments to the city's public tennis courts have moved a step closer.

Worcester City Council has submitted a planning application looking for permission to carry out a number of refurbishments to tennis courts in Cripplegate Park as well as install floodlights.

The work has been made possible through £215,000 of grants and loans by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Money for the improvements would also come from £50,000 county council highway compensation put aside as part of the damage caused by the New Road flood alleviation work and £50,000 of the city council’s own money.

The city council wants to encourage more people to play tennis and hopes to do so by installing floodlights for the Cripplegate Park tennis courts to allow them to stay light until 9pm.

The council would install 12 of the 12-metre floodlights around the courts, if the plans are approved.

The floodlights would only be turned on if the court was in use.

The council has already said it would be introducing hourly rates to use the new and improved courts.

Tennis lovers would be charged £7 an hour to rent the new courts, children would be charged £5 an hour and various concessionary rates would also be offered.

The courts would be free from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays and between 10am and 5pm on weekends.

Around 18 hours of free sessions are also likely to be held throughout the year.

To get the LTA grant and loan money, the city council must find an operator which would then set up a 'pay to play' charge to cover the cost of loan repayments and maintenance costs.

In line with requirements set out by the LTA the operator would have to offer concessionary rates and free coaching sessions to encourage the city to take part.

The grant bid by Worcester Tennis Networks - which is made up of local tennis groups and organisations who want to see more tennis played in the city - was accepted by the LTA in December last year.

The money means improvements can be made to courts in the two city parks as well as facilities at Worcester Sixth Form College and RGS.

The money would also pay for a central booking system which would allow tennis players to book courts across the city from one place and give the council a chance to measure how many people are using the courts.

A new bat survey was carried out in Cripplegate Park in May after earlier surveys found bat roosts may be affected by light spill from the proposed floodlights.

Consultation on the plan ends on September 7. The plans can be viewed via the planning section of the council's website.

The application number is 19/00540/FUL.