TENNIS will be played at one of the city’s most beautiful parks for the first time in decades thanks to a £95,000 revamp.
Two new tennis courts and a basketball court have been constructed in Victoria Park, Trinity, after a high demand for exercise space from residents.
Council records detail that tennis had been played in the park in the 1930s.
Now the city council and Sportscotland have provided funding and three schools – Trinity and Holy Cross primaries and Trinity Academy – will be entitled to access the courts.
A spokesman for Trinity Community Council said: “There has been lots of praise for Victoria Park’s improved basketball and tennis courts.
“The community council is very much in favour of using the park as fully as possible, particularly in the interests of younger people.”
City sports leaders said a community consultation found some residents felt discouraged from using facilities due to financial barriers and because of a lack of quality free provision in the area.
The results led to the re-launch of the courts, which were officially opened by Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader.
Ms Hinds said: “We have many wonderful parks and green spaces throughout the city and Victoria Park is a fantastic example of an excellent outdoor space enjoyed by the whole community.
“The consultation showed us there is demand for free local sports facilities so the opening of these new tennis and basketball courts is great news.
“I hope it will encourage even more people to make the most of this beautiful park.”
Cllr Hinds was joined by Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn MSP and Cllr Richard Lewis, culture and sport leader, to open the facilities.
It is hoped residents in nearby Leith and Granton will take advantage of the courts.
Victoria Park has been awarded a Green Flag since 2011 and forms part of the North Edinburgh Cycle Network, National Cycle Network and North Sea Route.
Cllr Lewis said: “I am delighted that these new facilities are now open and the fact they are free and accessible to everyone makes them an excellent resource for the community.
“A key priority for the council is to provide more opportunities for people to get active and encourage greater participation in sports as part of healthy lifestyle.”
Playing tennis for just three hours per week can cut people’s risk of death in half from any cause, according to an American study testing 10,000 people over a period of 20 years.
Basketball can help burn between 630 to 750 calories.