Padel tennis has become a very popular sport as of late, with courts springing up across Belgium. However, the new popularity has not been enjoyed by all. For many, they are a nuisance to neighbours due to noise.
After many complaints, a civil court in Bruges has now decided that padel can no longer be played at a tennis club in Bruges during the evenings and also on Sundays, reports De Morgen and De Standaard.
The ruling was due to the noise levels having become unbearable for people living in the proximity of padel courts. In April, noise measurements were taken at houses nearby. During normal play, 50 to 60 decibels could be heard, according to a scale which measures sound. 70 decibels could be observed during peak times of play.
These circumstances amounted to noise nuisance for the judge, who decided to limit padel tennis from 10:00 to 19:00 on weekdays.
On Saturdays, padel tennis won't be allowed after 16:00, while the sport will be forbidden on Sundays and on public holidays. If the club doesn't comply with the new rules, the club will be mandates to pay a penalty of €1,000 for each incident.
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Aggrieved parties had previously tried to negotiate a peaceful solution without the case escalating into court proceedings. Installing a sound barrier was looked into among other things. However, there was no agreeable settlement to the parties, which caused neighbours to take their case to a judge in April.
The neighbours demanded that padel activities stop, as they don't take place in a closed, isolated area. In the preliminary proceedings, the judge ruled that the case was a matter of urgency.