School unveils plans for £175k tennis facility

Mossley Primary principal Stephen Mulligan, teacher Laura Boyd and pupils Adam Hewitt, Holly Logan and Shane Kernaghan are hoping the school will get the go-ahead for a new �175,000 tennis facility development. INNT 11-500-SO Pic by Shirley O'Neill
Mossley Primary principal Stephen Mulligan, teacher Laura Boyd and pupils Adam Hewitt, Holly Logan and Shane Kernaghan are hoping the school will get the go-ahead for a new �175,000 tennis facility development. INNT 11-500-SO Pic by Shirley O'Neill

Mossley Primary has unveiled plans for a new sports facility development aimed at encouraging pupils to play tennis and other sports.

The Hazelburn Road school has teamed up with The Schools Tennis Project Ltd, an organisation which promotes tennis in schools, in a bid to bring the ambitious project to fruition.

Mossley Primary’s recently advertised planning application details proposals for “two sports domes and office accommodation, floodlighting to MUGA pitch and new tennis facilities.”

It’s understood the project represents an investment of between £150,000 and £175,000.

According to principal Stephen Mulligan, tennis lessons have always been very popular in the school and have been running as an after schools club for more than 15 years.

If the initiative gets the green light from planners, the new facilities will include a full size tennis court and mini tennis zone, each covered with inflatable structures. These will allow young players to learn the game on appropriately sized courts with plenty of space to practice and play.

The new facilities will also include a small building incorporating toilets and an office.

“The aim is to allow children at the school to go directly from school to an after school tennis club where they can get lessons, practice under the supervision of professional tennis coaches and play until parents finish work and come to collect them,” Mr Mulligan told the Times.

“As well as being convenient for working parents, this will allow children to regularly spend a lot of time playing tennis and other sports, developing their skills and no doubt a lifelong interest in a healthy sport.

“The school will have use of the facilities throughout the day and this will be a fantastic additional teaching space for children and staff.”

As part of the development, floodlighting will also be added to the existing astroturf hockey pitch, allowing it to be used by the community during out-of-school hours - in the evenings, on Saturdays and during school holidays. This will facilitate seven-a-side football and training sessions for local teams.

Brian Cushnie, director of The Schools Tennis Project Ltd, commented: “We hope this facility will be the first of many after schools tennis facilities to be situated at primary schools. It is great that it is to happen in Newtownabbey, which suffers from a lack of usable tennis facilities.”

Mr Mulligan added: “We are delighted to partner with The Schools Tennis Project Ltd on this exciting project and look forward to our children benefitting for years to come.”

The planning application for the project has yet to come before Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee for consideration.

If the initial scheme proves a success, there are plans to add another court and extend the mini tennis zone at a later date, once enough funding has been generated.