Tennis courts at public housing estates may be put to other uses, such as communal areas, after a 50-per-cent cut in fees failed to attract more players. Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said yesterday the discount had shown little effect since being introduced two years ago. Courts at the On Yam Shopping Centre had not been used at all, before or after the discount was introduced. Of 16 estates with tennis courts, only two showed utilisation rates of more than 10 per cent. The busiest - at Wong Tai Sin Shopping Centre, where the utilisation rate was 25 per cent - does not offer the discount. The remaining 14 sites had utilisation rates ranging from zero to 7 per cent, with an average of 2.8 per cent. Before the discounts were introduced, court hire had been charged at the same rate demanded by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Mr Suen said alternative uses for the sites were being explored. 'To make the best possible use of valuable land resources, the Housing Department is actively exploring the feasibility of converting some of the underutilised tennis courts for other uses,' he said. 'If converted, they usually become recreational facilities such as sitting out areas, estate open space or basketball courts for residents to use free of charge.' Mr Suen was responding to a question from health services representative Joseph Lee Kok-long. He noted the courts did not incur much in the way of costs for the government as they needed only periodic maintenance, and the same would be true of whatever they were turned into. In a sign of things to come, courts at Chak On Estate in Shamshuipo had already been converted into open spaces, while one at Tin Tsz Estate in Yuen Long had been turned into a basketball court. Janet Hardisty, general manager of the Hong Kong Tennis Association, said she was aware there were tennis courts at housing estates, but was unable to use them. 'We don't use them for our programmes because we don't have any priority in booking them,' she said. 'Maybe [tenants] need to see a coach down there, someone who can help them with their game.'