Judy Murray is ‘hopeful’ tennis centre will get green light

Judy Murray is bidding to build a new tennis academy. Picture: Neil Hanna
Judy Murray is bidding to build a new tennis academy. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Judy Murray says she remains “hopeful” her dream of a world class tennis centre near her hometown of Dunblane will get the green light, but is still in the dark about the situation seven months after she gave evidence at a public inquiry.

Ms Murray, the mother of world singles No 1 Andy and doubles champion Jamie, wants to build a tennis academy that will provide affordable courts and a centre of excellence that will train up an army of coaches to ensure a tangible Scottish legacy of her sons’ remarkable feats.

The scheme near the junction of the A9 and M9, partly on green-belt land between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, would form part of an overall plan by developer Duncan King, which also includes a golf academy, 150-room hotel with a gym and spa, visitor centre, Murray tennis museum and 19 luxury houses. The £37.5 million Park of Keir facility, which would include 12 courts, was rejected by Stirling Council in December 2015 after more than 1,000 local objections.

The developers lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government in March last year citing the economic and social benefits and Ms Murray gave evidence at the subsequent public inquiry in September.

“I have to be hopeful. I’ve put so much into it and it’s such a good project,” she said yesterday. “We don’t know anything, we are just waiting. The inquiry finished in the middle of September. I’m guessing it will maybe be after the elections. But it’s been a long time.

“It’s a fantastic concept but the site is on a couple of fields on the edge of the motorway which are, unfortunately, green belt.”

Ms Murray was speaking at the David Lloyd Centre in Edinburgh yesterday at a training day for more than 40 “activators” of her She Rallies programme to attract more girls to play tennis and more women to coach.

She believes the Park of Keir plan, where the tennis element would be subsidised by other aspects of the project, would be a boost to her desire to build on the Murray tennis legacy, which she fears is in danger of being squandered by a lack of investment in facilities.

“In the last ten years since Andy and Jamie have been at the top of the game we haven’t had one new pay and play indoor court in Scotland that is open to the public,” she said.

“It’s difficult to grow the game if you can’t play it 12 months of the year. You can’t build a really strong coaching workforce of excellence if you can’t show a career in it. Like any job, if you only do it for six months of the year you become average at it.”