More padel courts approved for Rocks Lane sports centre

Image above: Rocks Lane Multi-sports Centre

Two more padel courts given green light

Council planners have approved the construction of two additional padel courts at the Rocks Lane Multi-sports Centre in Chiswick Common.

The application sought permission for the installation of one padel tennis court and one training/junior padel tennis court at the western end of the centre in an area which is currently used for storage equipment. It does not increase the overall footprint of the centre.

Local people whose children play netball and football at Rocks Lane expressed concern that more of the centre was being taken over by padel courts, fearing that the space for local children’s activities in favour of adults.

One resident wrote to The Chiswick Calendar:

‘This reduces space further for football and netball games for children and adults, and severely restricts spectator access. Yet more squeezing out of community sports for the benefit of the far more lucrative padel courts!’

Rocks Lane say this is not so, the new courts will not have an impact on children’s access to playing football and netball. They said in their planning application that the space they are planning to redevelop as padel courts was under-used and was being used for storing maintenance equipment, which will now be stored off site.

They also say that padel is very popular in the local community – that most of the people who use the padel courts live within walking distance.

Image above: Padel at Rocks Lane

Presently, the site boasts six outdoor floodlit padel tennis courts, with planning permission granted in 2020 and 2021, along with four covered padel tennis courts approved a year later. According to the centre, these existing courts have attracted over 7,500 players in the past three years, with a substantial portion being newcomers to the sport.

They also highlight that local schools are increasingly incorporating padel tennis into their sports schedules and offer free facilities to local state schools, though they admit high demand sometimes makes it challenging to provide courts at suitable times.

To address this issue, Rocks Lane has appointed a School Sports Coordinator to collaborate with local schools and enhance opportunities for children to participate in sports.

The Council decided to allow Rocks Lane to introduce two more padel courts after considering 41 submissions related to the application, with the majority expressing support. Among the 13 objectors, concerns were raised about the potential loss of sports diversity, the perceived noise associated with padel, and challenges related to parking and increased road traffic in the area.

In response, planners stressed that the Council lacked the authority to dictate the types of sports played at the site and concluded that the proposed structures would not adversely affect neighbours or intensify the site’s use.

Image above: Developer’s impression of the new courts via planning documents