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New Torquay padel courts could be open by summer

Padel (Image courtesy: Tomasz Krawczyk/Unsplash)

Council gives green light to 'cool' new sports facility

New padel courts on Torquay seafront could host matches as early as this summer after the project was approved by Torbay planners.

The sport has been described as the ‘cool younger sister of tennis’ and is attracting celebrity players around the world.

David Beckham plays it, and so does fellow footballer Lionel Messi, but one critic told members of the bay’s planning committee: “It’s an elite pastime played by a very small fraction of the UK population. It can only be described at best as a niche sport.”

Members voted unanimously to support the application from Go-Padel to convert derelict tennis courts in front of the Riviera Centre into four padel courts. The sport is usually played in doubles, in enclosed courts, with solid racquets.

The new facilities will open seven days a week, all year round, and there will be parking for 15 vehicles.

Planning officers said the proposal would be enhance the site, and the Torquay Neighbourhood Forum came out in support.

But one objector said: “The sport’s growth has been over-emphasised by those who support this application. There is already an existing padel tennis court half a mile away. If you want to play padel tennis, simply cross the road.”

The existing court is at Torquay Tennis Club off Belgrave Road.

And Cllr Cordelia Law (Lib Dem, Tormohun) said the site was large enough to house both padel tennis and another amenity such as a badly-needed play park.

Miles Bromilow of Go–Padel said the sport was under-developed in Devon. It is easy to access for all abilities, he said.

Cllr Adam Billings (Con, Churston with Galmpton) added: “I am surprised there have been so many concerns. I would have thought this was something that would be very welcome.

“It is a developing sport, and we as a council should cater for it. There is a need for this.”

And Cllr Martin Brook (Con, Collaton St Mary) went on: “I very much welcome this proposal to make use of an eyesore which will remain an eyesore unless we deal with it.”

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