Stratton Park's tennis courts have reopened again - but users will be charged to use them from next year.

£90,000 has been invested by the borough council in recent months to upgrade the facilities, which saw them closed over the summer.

The courts have been resurfaced and repainted, whilst accessibility has been improved and a remote access system installed.

New nets and posts have been installed with floodlighting also improved on courts one and two.

But Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have now announced that users will have to pay to use the courts from April 2021.

The "small fee" has not been announced, but the council say that a number of pricing options will be available and is a condition of external funding received from the Lawn Tennis Association and Sport England.

The authority says that court fees will fund future maintenance costs, and say it will be free for the first six months to "encourage residents from neighbouring areas to give tennis a try without a charge".

Cabinet member for borough development and improvement Cllr Rebecca Bean said: “These upgraded facilities demonstrate our continued significant investment in sporting facilities across the borough.

"Ensuring we have high quality sporting facilities for residents is a top priority for us, to encourage participation in sport and also to boost our residents’ physical and mental wellbeing.”

Rob Peters, LTA participation development partner in the south and south west, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to develop the courts at Stratton Park and help open tennis up to more local people.

"The SmartAccess gate system is a crucial part of our free offer to local authorities to safeguard park courts, to ensure they continue to serve as hubs to bring individuals and communities together through tennis.

"We welcome any interest from other local authorities in helping achieve this.”