Kent Sport

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Sports facility developments

Current developments

Indoor Tennis and Events Arena

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide our members with the best facilities we possibly can we are excited to announce that we will be building a brand new indoor tennis and events arena.

The new arena will provide Kent Sport members with four indoor acrylic courts which will be a huge improvement on our current provision. It will also provide students with improved space and conditions for exams. After much consultation with key stakeholders at the University, it has been agreed that rather than improving the existing structure we will demolish this and rebuild from the beginning. As you can imagine this will result in a prolonged construction period and Kent Sport has sought external facilities for our student tennis club, in particular the BUCS matches on Wednesdays. Over the summer we will be providing grass tennis courts at the Pavilion for members to use.

The existing tennis centre will be open until Friday 26 April 2019. After this time the site will be handed over to the contractor so they can begin work.

This webpage will be updated with designs of the new structure and a timeline of when we expect the facility to reopen. Should you have any questions or concerns please email and your email will be forwarded to the relevant member of staff.

We will update this Facebook photo album as the project progresses. 

Indoor Tennis and Events Arena Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the work being undertaken?

There are a number of issues with the current facility that need to be addressed:
The surface becomes slippery due to condensation which causes a potential risk to our users;
The height of the building is such that during winter, the Astroturf for approximately 30m can remain frozen all day as the sun isn’t high enough in the sky. This has an impact on our user group and matches that are played on this pitch;
We have seen a number of lumps appearing on the playing surface which need to be removed. We have tried a number of solutions but nothing appears to have worked. Therefore by starting from scratch we are confident that this will provide us with the best chance of alleviating these problems.

We have the Lambeth conference being hosted at the University in 2020 which will see approximately 1,600 delegates attending the event. The University needs to provide a venue big enough for a conference of this size.

Examinations need more space and by building this facility the expectation is there will be 600-700 students able to be seated.

We have made the decision to demolish the existing structure and start from scratch as we believe this gives us the best chance of addressing the above and therefore enhancing our user experience.

What will you be building and how will it be used?

We currently have three indoor and three outdoor tarmacadam courts which are used for tennis and netball. The new centre will provide us with four indoor acrylic courts which will be an improvement on our current facility but will still be usable for the same activities. It allows us to have four bookable courts available whenever we are open as currently the outdoor courts have minimal usage during October – April.

Once completed the centre will be used to:

  1. Play tennis and netball
  2. Provide a space for examinations during the summer term
  3. Provide a conference space that can host a range of different sized events.

When does the tender process finish and the supplier confirmed?

The tender process has closed and the contractor will be SMC2 – this company built a similar structure at Nottingham Trent University which a number of key staff visited during the first term.

When will the work start and how long will it take?

The existing tennis centre will be closed from 27 April 2019 with the aim being to have the structure completed in time for the Lambeth conference in July 2020. Once this conference has ended we will then be laying the acrylic surface as it will minimise the chances of damage. We should be able to offer tennis in the new centre for the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

What will be the environmental impact?

An environmental impact report will be undertaken as soon as the full design and works schedule has been written, before which the full impact would not be able to be assessed.

What about accessibility?

Accessibility is always considered with new buildings and projects – we will be able to cater for any members who need assistance.

How will this project impact members?

We will have arguably the best facility in the area once work is complete and this is something we will be proud of. In the short term, we will provide grass tennis courts over the summer and external facilities for our student club during the BUCS season. We will have to reduce how many tennis programmes are offered for a whole academic year.

Will tennis be available elsewhere?

Yes we are working with external providers to establish what courts are available and this will be communicated to our members and updates provided on our website.
Over the summer we will be marking out tennis courts on the grass behind the old pavilion. These are bookable spaces.

How will the development improve facilities for students and others?

We will have the best facility in the area with the best surface available to all our user groups.

What will the benefits of this project be?

We will alleviate the current issues experienced by our users (mentioned above);
We will be providing an improved facility to all our users;
We will be able to attract big conferences to the campus and generate much needed income for the University.

Will there be membership refunds?

We are providing an alternative option to our members in the form of outdoor grass pitches over the summer. We are revising our membership model so members should choose the package that best suits their needs.

Will this impact anything else such as our sports camps?

Our very popular holiday camps will still be running during vacation times offering plenty of fun activities for children who attend as we have plenty of facilities available.

Has there been stakeholder consultation?

Yes key stakeholders have been consulted and meet monthly to discuss the project.

Where can I find the planning application?

The planning application will be able to be found through the relevant council websites in due process.

How much will the project cost?

The University has allocated £4 million to this project.

How can I receive further information?

We will provide updates on our website relating to pertinent information, designs of the new structure and the progress as we move through the phases.

Who do I contact with questions?

Initially questions should be emailed to and this will then be forwarded on to the relevant staff member depending on the nature of the question.


Completed developments

Fitness Suite flooring

In the summer of 2018, Kent Sport undertook the project of updating the fitness suite flooring. Due to the sheer volume of usage within the pit and free weights area, the floor was no longer fit for purpose. When weights were used and dropped, it caused the concrete below the surface to crumble. Over the years we had patched these areas up but a full replacement became critical. Added to this, the top rubber crumb surface had also been deteriorating to the point where this also needed to be replaced.

In July 2018, the flooring replacement was completed successfully and reopended for use. The replacement surface is a much thicker rubber matting that will not only absorb the vibration of weights being dropped but protect the concrete base layer.

You can see the development of the flooring project in our Facebook album.


Cycle Hub and 3GX pitch

The Cycle Hub is the most recent development, providing bike hire, maintenance, tuition, group rides and more. Whether you are a recreational cyclist or training to an elite level and whether your interest is mountain biking or road racing, this will be the place for you. Conveniently located at the Pavilion, members are able to choose from a range of bicycles for hire, use the workshop facility to maintain and repair their own bikes and participate in cycling events and activities.

We have also added a £1m world-class 3GX pitch to our outdoor facilities. The pitch enables back-to-back fixtures and training for rugby, football and American football and delivers the optimal playing conditions for matches from recreational to top-level rugby and football. More details about the pitch can be found on the outdoor facilitywebpage. Watch a timelapse video of the development here.



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Last Updated: 14/05/2019