Drawing to the end of 2023, it is a good time to reflect on where the Club is now, and most importantly where it is heading. The Board feels the Club is in great shape and the general level of Member engagement and positive sentiment is high. Usage remains elevated across all the sports and activities, and the waiting list remains strong. The recent section AGMs, dinners and Member Forum have all been very positive. It’s no surprise to me that the Club won Tennis Club of the Year award 2023 once more last week adding another trophy into the Clubhouse cabinet.
On the three main Masterplan development projects we are making good progress. We are working on gaining planning approvals where necessary and on final tender costings. We will also need to phase these projects given our financial and operating bandwidth; hence the following timings are only indicative:
Clubhouse – Members Bar, decking and kitchen refurbishment
We aim to transform the appeal of the Club’s social areas in 2024/5 as prioritised by Members in the last Club survey. It is clear from the Club Café refurbishment and subsequent inspections that a lot of our utility infrastructure is end of life (20 to 50 years old) and will require replacing as part of this development.
◊ The first project will be the electrification of the kitchen to remove gas, make it more sustainable and benefit from power generated by our solar panels. This requires work to upgrade our electrical capacity and ensure we meet latest safety standards, which unfortunately means we will need to close the kitchen for an estimated 8 to 9 weeks to complete the works starting in January 2024.
◊ Staff will provide a limited menu in the Club Café for that period using hired ovens. The Juice Bar and Piazza Coffee Shop will remain open with more details to follow next month. Members’ patience is asked for here as we futureproof the kitchen for the next 15-20 years.
◊ The Members Bar and decking refurbishment phase will also be substantial and likely to take up to three months to complete. We are discussing whether to delay the bulk of the work to Q1 2025 or keep it for the summer of 2024. We may be able to split the decking upgrade from the internal work. We plan to hold an open Forum in Q1 2024 to allow for Member input into the scheduling and to see the proposed designs.
Padel and Pickleball Hub on Courts 25 to 28
Given the positive feedback at the Member Forum, we are evaluating the construction of up to four more padel and eight new pickleball courts within the Hub. Design ideas have been generated with and without the key consideration of being able to construct and afford a retractable roof. Wandsworth Planning has informed us that they will not approve a permanent roof structure but are considering the possibility of a retractable roof. It is a remote possibility at this stage. Work will not start before October 2024 and may go into 2025 if we are able to have a retractable roof.
Indoor Golf Centre (IGC)
We remain in pre-app phase discussions with Wandsworth Council Planning and are cautiously optimistic with the current designs that we can receive officer support. Once received we would then need to make a formal application, and only then if we receive planning approval can we go out for formal tenders. If we are successful, the current expectation is that we would break ground in Q3 or early Q4 2024.
Thank you to the amazing Staff and Sections
It is also a time to thank our amazing staff and sections who make Roehampton Club run. It’s their commitment that makes our Club one of the best sports clubs in the country. There are far too many people to thank in writing, but in my first few months as Chair, I have been so impressed with the work and effort of the Section Committees and Captains. All of this is unpaid and for the love of the Club showing how lucky we are to have some many amazing Members – so thank you to all those who so generously give their time.
I also must thank and congratulate the Executive teams who make all of this possible, coping at times with some of the more ‘lateral and creative’ Member ideas. Again, all I can say is THANK YOU.
Below are some personal thank yous and some fun stats I wanted to share …