Rye Tennis Club’s controversial plans to build a new covered structure to house three indoor tennis courts on the edge of Rye has been thrown into question by Natural England.
In a letter to Rother District Council (RDC) Natural England have castigated RDC for allegedly not following the correct procedures in advance of their approving the planning application in May 2018.
The application was originally approved by RDC Councillors against a wave of local opposition. The Councillors’ decision even went against the advice of their own in-house planners, who had recommended that the scheme be rejected because the new development would be in open countryside and the enclosed ‘courts would be substantial in scale and would appear unduly prominent and have a significant intrusive impact on both the local rural character of Military Road and more widely from…longer views from the east’.
Natural England is a non-departmental public body and their role is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations.
Their letter raises concerns regarding the potential impacts the new tennis courts could have on the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay designated sites as a result of water pollution, noise disturbance and the impact of construction.
Natural England have told RDC that they need to formally check the mitigation factors submitted with the planning application.
While RDC can circumvent these rules, Natural England points out that if they do so they would still need to justify why they chose that course of action, as is required under Section 281 (6) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. RDC must also explain ‘the terms on which it is proposed to grant it and how, if at all, your authority has taken account of Natural England’s advice’.
Image Credits: Original planning application .