Tennis courts expansion served up

More tennis courts could be built in Wimbledon after a scheme to redevelop the western side of All England Club was approved by Merton Council.

Work is also progressing on providing Court Number One with a retractable roof.

According to the plans, granted the green light on 16 March, five covered tennis courts would be demolished to make room for six indoor and six outdoor courts.

The scheme has now been submitted to the Greater London Authority for approval.

A new building would also include basement parking for around 340 cars.

It would add seven tennis courts to the 17.3 ha site at SW19, which includes 53 courts, 18 of which are used for The Championships, attracting half a million people to the venue every summer and followed by more than a billion worldwide. 

Work is also proceeding on the redevelopment of Court Number One, to provide it with a £70 million retractable roof, allowing for uninterrupted play regardless of the weather conditions.

The steel lattice is being assembled, and the builders will then start attaching the covering that will form the first part of the permanent fixed roof. Two tiers of seats will also be added to the court, meaning the venue will cater for a further 900 people. 

Work by constructor Sir Robert McAlpine will be completed in 2019. 

Meanwhile, Court 19 is being replaced with a two-level public plaza. New concrete slabs are now in place, one at the level of the old court and the other one storey up. The stairs are being constructed, while an undercroft area is being excavated beneath the previous court level to form a new officials’ restaurant.

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