Tennis court building gets go-ahead

Impression of the proposed building

Rother District Council (RDC) has approved Rye tennis club’s application to build three indoor tennis courts after nearly three years of debate. 

The application had received a number of objections from local residents as well as from Rye Conservation Society and Playden Parish Council, who had concerns “regarding the scale and bulk of the proposed building on the landscape and its proximity to protected countryside, the provision of sufficient parking, the extended hours of use and the effect of the lighting of the courts on the immediate environment”.

While RDC have given a green light to the new tennis courts they have stipulated a number of conditions. The developers must undertake an archaeological investigation “to ensure the archaeological and historical interest of the site is safeguarded and recorded” and must also submit information on their surface water drainage scheme to ensure the new building does not cause local flooding. The full list of conditions can be read here.  

The surprise approval of the scheme went against the advice of Rother’s own in-house planning experts and against local objections, with a number of residents along Military Road objecting to the development, including one from local resident Paul Osborne who is also Chair of Playden Parish Council and a Councillor at RDC. Rye Town Council had also objected back in 2017 and stated that it was a “fundamental principle” that development should not creep beyond the Parish boundary into green areas and were concerned that the development “conflicts with the views of the Rye community in respect of the future development in and around the Rye Parish boundary”. 

Editor’s note: We understand that the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), who are keen to see more indoor courts in the South East, are preferring ‘soft’ structures using fabric rather than the permanent solid structure originally envisaged (and pictured above) for this site, so there could be significant changes to the scheme that was first proposed.


  1. The approval of the Lawn Tennis Club’s application for indoor tennis courts is yet another example where democracy and democratic systems were ignored. Local residents who will be most impacted by this development, the Rye and Playden Town Councils and Rother’s own planning department all objected yet Rother Council went ahead and approved the application. One wonders if it was the mysterious intervention of Amber Rudd, MP ( I wrote to her twice asking for an explanation but received no reply) who is not a resident of either town, that swayed the Council or was this yet another backroom deal by the well connected to approve development against the wishes of the local town. Rother did this a few years ago just down the road from the current site where they approved a semi detached building next to The Globe Inn Marsh to be built even though the site had previously experienced landslip; in this case the Rother Planning Department also objected. I am most definitely not anti development but with the approval of this very large building in an area of natural beauty and environmental sensitivity there is now a precedent for further development along Military Road such as additional sports pavilions, warehouses and other large, unattractive buildings.

  2. One has to ask where does the blame begin, know another controversial development gets the nod from Rother district council, sadly the answer lies with previous councillors, who banged the drum, in opposing building on flood plain sites in the town, and then when the developers got around this,by building a garage at ground level,opened the flood gates,by approving them, and when a brown field came available on harbour road, they turned the opportunity down, so then Greenfield site off udimore road was sacrificed to take Rothers quota for the town, sadly I believe the Rape of Rye is just beginning, and as a wise man of Rye told me years ago,money talks in this town,and it’s not what you know, but who you know.


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