Wandsworth Tennis Club Made To Set Up Complaints Hotline

Councillor says late night noise affecting sleep of key workers

Magdalen Park Lawn Tennis Club.
Magdalen Park Lawn Tennis Club

A Wandsworth tennis club must set up a complaints hotline for locals after losing a controversial bid to sell alcohol until midnight.

People living near Magdalen Park Lawn Tennis Club said they feared they wouldn’t be able to sleep and that the venue could become a ‘nightclub’ if the application to open later on Wednesdays and Saturdays was granted.

Wandsworth Council’s licensing sub-committee has instead given the club the go-ahead to sell alcohol until 10pm on Saturdays – just one hour later than before. The venue has also been granted permission to open and sell alcohol from 11.30am instead of 6pm every day. It can sell alcohol until 11pm on Mondays to Fridays and until 9pm on Sundays – the same as before.

The club’s application to play music after 11pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays was refused. The venue must create a complaints hotline and invite locals to meetings to discuss any issues. On each day, except Sunday, a member of staff must patrol the venue’s outside area to make sure no one is drinking outside the club building and that they return inside after 10pm.

A petition objecting to the application was signed by 114 people living in nearby homes, while more than 40 objections were lodged with the council.

Councillors heard residents’ fears that the venue would turn into a “nightclub” if the application was fully granted. A key worker who did not give his name told the licensing committee on May 31, “We just want to sleep. I moved to Earlsfield because it’s a quiet area, it’s a residential area. Why do we need a nightclub right next door to where we live?”

Councillor Rosemary Birchall said she was speaking on behalf of residents opposed to the extension “without exception”. She said, “With the best will in the world, the bar staff find it difficult to keep the volume down, keep members inside after 10pm and the windows closed so it is the neighbours who suffer.” She added, “Key workers have their sleep frequently disturbed […] before an early shift. All residents are affected by the noise from the club – be they young or old.”

The club is in a residential area
The club is in a residential area

But the committee heard the club had recently gained a full-time bar manager and acoustic glass had been installed to reduce noise for neighbours.

Penny Sloman, operations manager, said, “We are a community club, we are aware of our neighbours and we make every effort for people to leave quietly. We believe our new manager has really got the staff trained well and we, as a board, we’re volunteers but we have a very responsible attitude towards this.”

She apologised to anyone “affected by the noise of the tennis club” and said members would look at their engagement with the local community going forward. She also added that the application was “more for the earlier opening”.

Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter

June 21, 2022