Welcome to Tory-controlled Harrow where parking apparently costs nothing (that’s ignoring what the money lost could have been better spent on) but playing tennis in public parks is no longer free.
Although technically tennis has not been privatised, the mechanism is the same. Take out something that was public, enjoyed, and free, and give back something that apparently looks better and cooler, but now costs.
We are living in the borough of free parking, which may cost the Council hundreds of thousand of pounds of missed revenue (the council announced 1 millions hours of free parking granted.)
And that is not counting the estimated £500k in legal expenses to challenge ULEZ expansion. So there is all that money spent on local motorists but Harrow Tory council cannot find £200 for a new net that in most cases could make the tennis courts decently playable. The previous Labour run Council did not do any better. It left tennis to degrade.
The courts are now available if you can afford to pay for £5 per hour. To do this, you have to use the Lawn Tennis Association website. Concession pricing is available for under 18's and Senior Citizens but you need contact the LTA online for details. In return we will have the surface painted in green, in some case perhaps resurfaced, new nets. According to the council, all these refurbishments will require £450k. Where do they get that cost from?
Currently the tennis courts at Harow Recreation Ground are exactly as they were, tired but playable. One gate has been equipped with a combination key. Perhaps some person will break the lock.
Tennis passionates can join a club – plenty in Harrow – where the courts are well maintained by membership fees. But they have to pay.
The courts of the parks were used by occasional players, often young people. An opportunity for them to do something healthy, to get closer to a beautiful sport, perhaps discover a new talent, without having to pay. Not anymore.
It is a very Tory thing to disrupt public services and when done say that they do not work, so need to be privatised. The easiest way is leaving them to decay cutting funds and demotivating employees. Plenty of good examples, railways, water utilities, prisons. Now NHS is under attack.
The philosophy behind that is that private entrepreneurs are more efficient, smart, and imaginative than public bureaucrats. Yes, they can point to some benefits, but often damage citizens, especially the poorest ones. Tories love regressive taxes and fees. We can see it under our eyes on the park tennis courts.