Although Essex County Council, as landlords, agreed the floodlighting scheme,
planning permission was refused by Brentwood District Council following
objections from residents in neighbouring flats. It was decided to appeal and the
Club was fortunate to have a barrister (John Scannell) as a member who agreed
to present our case. Through his efforts the ruling was overturned and a subcommittee of
Bill Low, Peter Garrard and Bryan Cosgrove was formed to advise
on installation. Financial pressures however meant that the work was held back
until Autumn 1985. The Cricket and Hockey Clubs proposed extending the main
pavilion, but the Tennis Club obviously could not join them in this project at that
1984 saw the first steps towards forming the Intermediate section; a coaching
programme for adults looking to bring their playing standard up to that of the
Club's social play. Peter Thompson coached the initial 16 players with several
able to join as full members at the end of the ten-week course. The success
ensured that it became a long-term arrangement.
The Essex League introduced a Singles League for 1985 and on Peter Cracknel!'s
recommendation the Club registered a team. The Club also took on responsibility for
organising and running the Brentwood & District Knockout Tournament, with the
finals played at the Club on Saturday 14th September - Bryan Cosgrove taking
charge as Tournament Secretary.
The floodlights were installed and in operation by early 1986. The Club entered
teams in the Stock Winter Floodlit League and so another step had been taken
towards year round play. With the sale of the Vicarage of St Mary's, Shenfield, a
group of 14 ladies lost the use of the tennis court in the grounds and as a result
joined the Club's midweek section.
In June 1986 the County Ground Club suggested that Court 9 space would be
better used if given over to ease the acute car parking problems with the Tennis
Club receiving help in improving the remaining courts as compensation - in
fact the surface condition had deteriorated badly and play on that court had
become very much a last choice. The committee agreed in principle and Ted
Barnard produced a study and costing of several options. The various ideas were
considered with 'artificial grass' being a preferred option as a new surface.
The County Ground were unable to offer any significant funding at the time
and so the Tennis Club took the opportunity to carry out a full programme of
routine maintenance - electrical rewiring, court cleaning and re-wiring, plus the
construction of the patio overlooking Court 7 & 8 complete with new seating -
until some assistance became available. The playing results of the Summer were
exceptional, with Essex Mens 1 (2" in league), Mens 2 (Champions) and Singles
(Champions) all gaining promotion. The Ladies were Champions of Division 1 in
the Brentwood & District League. To complete the year the Club held a Barn Dance
to replace the Dinner/Dance of previous years, which had struggled to maintain
members interest. Julia Iwachiw and Sue Harrison made the arrangements and
were 'to be congratulated on providing a first rate evening.'
The AGM was moved from February to October to enable the main season's
events to be reviewed more quickly, and to allow the incoming committee
additional time to prepare for the next.