A village in Epping Forest could soon welcome a number of tennis and padel courts if plans are approved. 

Theydon Bois Land Management Ltd has applied to have a total of ten playing courts built on the land near Abridge Road. 

In the application, which was prepared by Lanpro, the developers suggest that the 2.76 hectares, equivalent to nearly four football pitches, be transformed into an open-air sports facility for the sport. 

The plans also suggest 24 car and 22 cycle parking spaces to be built on the currently open scrubland. 

Epping Forest Guardian: Sport: participants playing padel tennis at a Padel United UK site (Image: Richard Hall-Smith)Sport: participants playing padel tennis at a Padel United UK site (Image: Richard Hall-Smith) (Image: Richard Hall-Smith)

The site was previously proposed for an 18-hole golf course in 2002, but plans were withdrawn, and permission to build houses between 2012 and 2019 was rejected by Epping Forests’ planning committee. 

In the planning statement, the developer states: “The proposals will provide a padel and tennis facility on the site with associated facilities to provide for the significant growth in padel in the UK and Europe.

"Currently, there is no provision for padel in Theydon Bois or Epping Forest with existing tennis and leisure centres providing indoor and outdoor tennis courts only. 

“A total of 8 x padel courts and 2 x tennis courts are proposed with the dimensions and specifications of the courts informed by guidance from the International Padel Federation and the International Tennis Federation.” 

A clubhouse is included in the plans, potentially providing changing facilities, toilets and a reception area for the players. 

Epping Forest Guardian: Village sign for Theydon BoisVillage sign for Theydon Bois (Image: Peter S on geograph)

The development would not see floodlights for the courts, as the developers are planning to arrange opening hours around the natural sunlight. 

“No floodlighting or tall lighting columns are proposed to illuminate the courts and it is intended the courts will be used in daylight hours only with expected opening being 8am – 9pm in summer and 8-4 in winter, with a range in between for spring and autumn depending on daylight hours. 

“Overall, a compact site layout is shown on the Proposed Site Plan with the majority of the site still remaining open scrubland and landscaped areas to limit harm to the character and functions of the green belt and landscape impact.” 

Epping Forests’ planning committee will have the final say on the application.