Planning decision still uncertain

Impression of the proposed building

Rother District Council (RDC) minutes reveal that Rye Tennis Club was only granted outline planning permission for their proposed new indoor courts pictured above.
Submissions were made by local councillors (who were not planning committee members) Paul Osborne (representing Playden and agreeing with the planning officer that the scheme should be rejected) and Lord Ampthill (representing Rye, and in favour).
Despite Cllr Lord Ampthill’s enthusiasm for the project Rye News reported last week that his views went against those of his own Town Council which had advised rejection. There was no detail given in the minutes of any discussion by the committee before voting in favour of the scheme.
However the documents (some submitted late) on RDC’s site show a number of views of the £1 million hangar-like building (described by Cllr Paul Osborne as so large that “two 737 planes could fit inside it”)  including the drawing shown here.
Rye News hopes to provide more detail next week on this application.
(Source: RDC and Rye News’s previous report)

Image from planning application


  1. I cannot understand how this was passed by councillors and support your investigation. To me there are a few outstanding issues.
    1. The main issue is surely the reason they were refused permission last time – how the club would engage with local residents and school children to ensure more people benefit from this all weather facility. They were asked to provide information which they ignored: despite this councillors passed the application.
    2. Why the Rye representative on RDC, Lord Ampthill chose to ignore the great deal of public opinion and spoke for the development.
    3. Why Amber Rudd MP wrote a letter of support.
    [Note: this comment has been slightly edited to comply with our Comments Policy]

  2. Outline consent was granted because that is what the Rye Tennis Club applied for, nothing more. Both the Environment Agency and the Romney Marsh Drainage Board were consulted and will require more information as part of the detailed planning application. Apparently the perceived sporting gains for the local community and for the Tennis Club outweigh the damage that will be caused to the landscape and the wider setting of the Marsh. As the Rye Conservation Society objected to the application due to the size, location and effect on the landscape, we can only hope that benefits will accrue to the town and to the surrounding residents. Once the new shed is there, it will remain, like it or not.
    But there is still the detailed planning application to be considered when it is submitted. However this is highly unlikely to result in a refusal, given the level of detail already submitted with the outline application. One area of concern remains the ability of the club to provide the necessary parking for both cars and any other large group transport. This is particularly important given that the tennis club’s business plan is based on the presumption that there are potentially 10,000 people from Rye and the surrounding area within a half an hour drive who would be interested in playing on indoor courts. These courts would be open and in use 24/7, according to the Tennis Club submission, and will therefore be illuminated.
    Julian Luckett
    Chairman Planning Committee
    Rye Conservation Society

    • Regarding the transport: Surely the local residents of Rye who are members of the tennis club should be walking to the tennis club rather than driving, after all they are trying to encourage more activity in people. Also if there is a large transport need then coaches can be parked in the station car park as it is only a short walk to the tennis club.
      For the detailed planning stage it would seem appropriate to address some of the wider transport issues in Rye. From a pedestrians point of view These are summarised excellently in the Rye News article by Kevin McCarthy titled A Hostile Walking Environment.

  3. Given that Lord Ampthill supported this development against the wishes of Rye Town Council I take it that he will be giving the Council a detailed account of his reasoning at the next full Council meeting. If not then the RTC Councillors should be asking questions.


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