Enfield’s only padel tennis club at risk of closure over noise complaints

The council has served Hazelwood Padel Club with a noise abatement notice following complaints from a neighbour, reports James Cracknell

Padel tennis at Hazelwood Sport Club
Hazelwood Padel Club players, including co-owner Graham Taafe (third from left)

The borough’s only padel tennis facility could be forced to close by Enfield Council following noise complaints by a local resident.

Hazelwood Padel Club in Winchmore Hill has been operating for nearly a decade during a period when the racquet sport has become one of the fastest growing in the world.

But noise complaints by a local resident have led the council to issue two noise abatement notices, despite the club already spending thousands on sound insulation. It now says it cannot afford to take further steps to reduce the noise.

Graham Taafe, co-owner of Padel Tennis London which runs the two-court facility at Hazelwood Sports Club in Winchmore Hill, told the Dispatch: “This is the first padel tennis club in Enfield and when we opened the council was excited about it, we did a press day and everything. We had no problems whatsoever.

“At the end of 2021 we put in a planning application for the second court and that’s when we got the first complaint about noise from a neighbour. The council allowed us to build the court – but now they are trying to shut us down.”

To try to reduce noise pollution, Padel Tennis London spent thousands installing sound insulation around the top of the second court, but this has failed to stop the complaints.

“When we reopened after lockdown everyone wanted to play sport, but I think he [the neighbour] had got used to it being quiet,” said Graham.

“Padel tennis is a fast growing sport, there are hundreds of people in Enfield that are playing it. They [the council] want to get people to be more healthy and this is one of the easiest sports to play – it’s fun and exciting.

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“We spent £7,000 trying to reduce the noise on top of £150,000 building the courts and now they are telling us not to use them.”

The council says the “ball is in the club’s court” and that it has a responsibility to reduce the noise.

Sound insulation installed around the top of one of the padel tennis courts

A spokesperson said: “The council has a legal duty to investigate all noise complaints from residents. If a justified complaint is received from one resident or more, we are legally required to serve a notice.

“In 2022, a letter was sent to Hazelwood Sports Club to inform them of a noise complaint. Council officers visited the owners to discuss the issue, when no action was taken.

“The club continued to take no action, so an abatement notice was served. Prior to an appeal being heard, it was agreed to withdraw the notice in July 2023 on the understanding steps would be taken to address the noise nuisance issue, which their own acoustic consultant agreed existed.

“A November 2023 deadline was agreed for the club to take steps to abate the noise nuisance. A barrier was installed around one of the padel tennis courts but this did not solved the problem, so a further notice was served in February.

“At no time has the council suggested or instructed the padel tennis courts should close. The ball is now firmly in the club’s court to decide on the most appropriate action to take to reduce noise.”

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