DC Casebook: Leisure and Entertainment - Tennis courts stymied by ecological value

A proposal for three lawn tennis courts and a pavilion in a north London conservation area has been rejected on the basis that it would harm the area's character and the site's ecological importance.

The appellant proposed to excavate the site to provide flat land for the courts, the pavilion and a fenced parking area. The council had identified the site as valuable wildlife habitat for small mammals and reptiles and argued that it was part of a larger wildlife corridor. The mayor of London had also identified the site in his city-wide biodiversity strategy and biodiversity action plan.

The inspector found that although a large part of the site would remain open, the scheme would still result in significant changes to its character and appearance. Such unused and unkempt plots were important for small mammals and reptiles that preferred to live and forage in undisturbed semi-natural areas, he ruled. He held that the development would reduce the number of such areas, undermining a habitat whose integrity and appearance relied on preserving a range of open spaces.

Inspector: Peter Nock; Written representations.

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