Riverside Club to repurpose tennis courts to Padel courts

Image above: padel courts visualisation; Virgin Active

Company supported by Andy Murray in charge of proposals

Riverside Health and Racquets Club in Chiswick, situated on Riverside Drive, is gearing up to introduce Padel to the range of sports it offers. The club plans to achieve this transformation by repurposing some of its existing tennis courts. Game4Padel Ltd, a company with investment from Sir Andy Murray, has drafted designs for eight new covered Padel courts.

Earlier this year, the club had set up a series of pop-up Padel courts for demonstrations, hinting at the excitement building around the sport.

Padel tennis is already played at Rocks Lane sports centre on the common beside Turnham Green Terrace. They have recently added more Padel courts to accommodate demand. Rocks Lane Padel first team recently won the National Championships.

READ ALSO: Rocks Lane Padel team win national championships

READ ALSO: More padel courts approved for Rocks Lane sports centre

The Riverside Health and Racquets Club, a part of the Virgin Active chain, has submitted an application for the conversion, citing the underutilisation of existing tennis courts and the potential for Padel to diversify the recreational activities available to the local community. The proposed development is to be executed in two phases, with four courts in each phase, subject to approval.

Documents accompanying the application reveal plans to repurpose a 0.52-hectare area currently occupied by three tennis courts, with a reduction in space for six others.

The new Padel courts, measuring 20m x 10m each, will be enclosed by metal posts, featuring clear toughened glass and metal open mesh panels. The playing surface will be covered with blue artificial grass, akin to standard tennis court surfacing. To ensure playability in all weather conditions, a canopy of tensile fabric stretched over a structural timber frame will cover the courts.

The application emphasises the existing shortage of suitable Padel venues in the local area, despite the existence of several facilities in West London, including the expansion of the Rocks Lane multi-sports complex.

Padel is said to be the world’s fastest-growing sport, gaining popularity in the UK over the past few years. The sport has received recognition from Sport England. Governed by the LTA, Padel is celebrated for its accessibility to players of all levels.

Notably, besides Sir Andy Murray, David Beckham has also made investments in the sport. Regular players in the Padel community reportedly include renowned athletes such as Rafael Nadal, Lionel Messi, Maria Sharapova, as well as esteemed football managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

For further information and the opportunity to provide comments on this development, the planning application reference is P/2023/1959 on Hounslow Council’s website.