A NEW sport is coming to Huddersfield.
Councillors yesterday approved £20,000 towards building three padel courts at Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club in Edgerton.
The sport – a cross between tennis and squash – is popular in Spain but the only courts in this country are in Sussex and London.
When the Huddersfield padel courts are up and running next summer they will be the first in the North of England.
Club member Eva Lambert is leading the effort to build padel courts in Edgerton. She welcomed the Kirklees Council funding yesterday.
Eva said: "This grant is brilliant."
The club were inspired to take on the sport after the success of members Michael and Kelly-Jayne Tolman.
The Flockton brother and sister duo are part of the British padel team currently competing in the European Championships in Lisbon.
Eva said: "They started playing padel in La Manga where their parents own a property. But they had to go down to London to train for the championships."
But the pair could soon be able to practice much closer to home. The club needs to raise £60,000 to build three courts on the site of two redundant grass tennis courts.
Eva said: "We’re raising funds through club members and sponsorship. We’ve applied for planning permission and, if it’s granted, the courts will be open by the summer.
"The courts won’t just be for club members, they will be available on a pay-and-play basis."
Peter Vann, who was chairman of the club until his term of office ended last week, has played padel in Spain for 10 years.
He said: "Compared to tennis and squash it’s very easy to play. Within an hour, beginners can be enjoying themselves, having rallies.
"It’s a very good game for families and older people. It’s not a power game like tennis, it’s about long rallies at a slow pace."
The council’s Cabinet agreed to tens of thousands of pounds of funding for other sports clubs at yesterday’s meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall.
Syngenta Sports and Fitness on Leeds Road received £30,000 towards the £150,000 conversion of four unused tennis courts into multi-purpose synthetic pitches with changing rooms.
Huddersfield Rugby Union Club at Lockwood was given £20,000 towards a £67,000 viewing gallery which would be used for coaching analysis.
Kirklees has also given £15,000 to Linthwaite Methodist Sports Club towards a £25,000 tennis court to be built on a disused bowling green.
Shepley Cricket Club received £25,000 towards a £225,000 upgrade of its changing rooms, clubhouse and tea room.
Nuffield Hospital Cricket Club in Birkby was given £14,800 towards a £20,000 replacement of the club room and changing rooms.
The Cabinet also agreed yesterday to lease land to Golcar United Football Club to build a clubhouse with changing rooms. The club must raise £350,000 for the plan, which would involve demolishing the council-owned pavilion at the Longfield Avenue site.
A padel court is slightly smaller than a tennis court and includes a net and three-metre high walls at either end.
Padel balls have less pressure than tennis balls, making it easier to have rallies.
Serving is under-arm, meaning padel is less of a power sport than tennis.
Padel is usually played in doubles and uses a similar scoring system to tennis.
The sport was invented by Mexican Enrique Corcuera in the 1960s and spread to continental Europe.
With one million players, padel is the second most popular participatory sport in Spain behind football.