Planners Recommend Green Light for More Padel Courts

Rocks Lane centre converting more of its space for use for the sport

The entrance to the Rocks Lane centre on Chiswick Back Common
The entrance to the Rocks Lane centre on Chiswick Back Common


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September 17, 2023

More padel courts are set to be built at the Rocks Lane Multi-sports Centre at Chiswick Back Common after council planners recommended that an application be approved.

Permission was being sought for the installation of one padel tennis court and one training/junior padel tennis court at the western end of the site. It was argued that the ‘irregular sized’ multi-use court that occupies the area along with ancillary land was infrequently used.

There has been some controversy over the expansion of padel, a racquet sport similar to tennis, with some parents claiming that groups playing team sports such as football and netball being squeezed out.

The site currently has six outdoor floodlit padel tennis courts, granted planning permission in 2020 and 2021 and 4 covered padel tennis courts which were approved a year later. The centre says that the existing padel courts attracted have attracted over 7500 players over
the past 3 years with a significant percentage of these being new to the sport. It adds that local schools are increasingly integrating padel tennis in to their sports timetable and that it offers facilities free of charge to local state schools although the demand for courts means that it cannot always supply the courts at times suitable. Rocks Lane has appointed a School Sports Co-ordinator (SSC) to liaise with all schools in the local area to increase the opportunities for children to play sport.

Visualisation of the proposed new courts from the planning documents
Visualisation of the proposed new courts from the planning documents

There were 41 submissions relating to the applications of which the majority were in favour. Reasons given by the 13 objectors included the loss of diversity of sports, padel being ‘more noisy’ and difficulties in parking and extra road traffic in the area.

Cllr Jo Biddolph raised additional concerns about the change in the balance of the use of space with fewer families using it while the proportion of adults has increased. This, she argues, has increased noise levels and parking issues in the evening.

The planners said that the council did not have the power to control the types of sport played at the site and they did not believe that the proposed structures would harm neighbours or increase the intensity of use of the site.

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