TENNIS players are outraged over the sudden closure of four courts after arriving to find the council had locked them.

People from the King Alfred Tennis Club on Hove seafront received an “unexpected” email saying the court surfaces were too dangerous and due to be closed.

They were surprised to see the courts were chained off that same day.

Players who use the courts regularly said it was frustrating after they have asked for them to be done up “for at least four years”.

But people may not have to wait long for the courts to see a new lease of life.

Brighton and Hove City Council has now announced that the courts will be restored as part of funding it has secured from the government’s levelling up scheme, which will allow it to undertake works for its “Kingsway on the sea” project.

This aims to regenerate the under-used and run-down spaces on the seafront between the King Alfred Leisure Centre and Hove Lagoon.

The four western courts the council locked up will be its first priority, with the aim to have them complete in six months.

However, people who are fundraising for the courts want restoration to start sooner.

Rose Hetherton, representative of the King Alfred Tennis Club, said: “I received an unexpected email telling me that the courts would be closed following a health and safety inspection and the surface being too dangerous.

The Argus: Players at the club have been fundraising to get the surface redonePlayers at the club have been fundraising to get the surface redone

“That day when I went to the club there was a chain around the entrance and a sign telling us they had been closed.

"This was galling as we’ve been asking for the surface to be treated for at least four years. This is an issue that has been known about and been left to fester until it’s too late."

 Councillor Chris Henry, Labour councillor for Westbourne, said: “I had no notice of this closure and the first I knew was when the club contacted me. I’ve therefore spoken at length with council officers and have said in no uncertain terms that the courts need to be resurfaced in time for Easter.

 “While we were all over the moon that we won the government bid for money to landscape and regenerate this stretch of heritage promenade, this work won’t be complete till 2024 and so we need to focus on these tennis courts immediately."

Councillor Martin Osborne, chairman of the tourism, equalities, communities and cultures committee said: “We know the tennis courts are a popular and important amenity for residents and we’re keen to get them brought back in to use as soon as possible.

“Having funding in place means we can now move forward at pace with our plans. Subject to the usual planning and procurement process, we hope to have the four western courts resurfaced within the next six months.

“In the meantime, four other easterly courts are still open and available for play”.

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