A Durham leading law firms has helped bring the fastest growing sport in the world to a new venue in the North East.

Infinite Durham, a multi-activity park at Belmont Business Park on the outskirts of Durham city, is to become home to the first indoor, dedicated padel facility in the North East.

Padel, or padel tennis as it is sometimes called, is a cross between tennis and squash. It is always played as doubles on a court about one third the size of a tennis court.

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In getting the legal work required to complete the deal over the line, Swinburne Maddison LLP undertook a range of legal matters on behalf of the managing director of the Infinite Durham complex, Austin Carney.

The area designated for the new padel courts were in use as indoor football pitches located within the six-acre site at Infinite Durham.

Terms have now been agreed with an operator, True Padel Ltd, for a 15-year, full repairing and insuring lease covering an area of 32,579 sq ft. True Padel will convert the space into nine padel courts with a café bar that will serve alcohol and refreshments.

Partner and head of the commercial property team, Victoria Walton, said: “We are delighted to have been able to assist Austin, a longstanding client, with his next exciting new leisure development, which will see Soccarena renting out space to house the new padel facility.

“We were able to conclude this deal in a relatively short time frame after our first meeting, providing practical solutions to various aspects of the transaction and were able to showcase our agility when the scope of the matter changed. Solicitor Diane Hall and I undertook the work surrounding the lease and additional support was provided by the corporate team.

“The Soccarena facility is a huge success. It is a very popular venue with families from across the North East region and we wish Austin and his team continuing success with the introduction of padel to his leisure portfolio.”

Austin Carney sees Soccarena almost as a second career after operating the highly successful betting chain, Reuben Page, which had 59 retail outlets, before 44 were acquired by Gala Coral in 2007.

Already an investor in Soccarena he jumped at the chance to take on the business fully when the opportunity presented itself in 2018, becoming the first person to get into multi-activity parks in the North East.

He said: “The Swinburne Maddison team have provided a very efficient and proactive service for this deal and I am really pleased that we have been able to agree terms with True Padel Ltd. The development of the padel facility is a great fit with the environment we’ve tried to create at Soccarena – although it is the first activity where we won’t be both the owner and operator.

“My wife and I will continue to run the other facilities at Soccarena - Infinite Air, our very popular trampoline park, Infinite Tots, which is a soft play park with inflatables, Lickety Split, our award-winning ice cream parlour and of course the outdoor football pitches, where we welcome the Russell Foster League each Saturday, Middlesbrough FC and Newcastle United to train their development youngsters, along with many junior clubs, at New Ferens Park.

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“So, if you include padel into the mix, it is a really exciting addition. We have high hopes for its success. It is a very popular sport throughout the world and has a growing following in the UK, but as yet, there are no facilities in this part of the world, so we are proud to be the first activity park to introduce it.”

Adam and Alex Carr of True Padel Ltd will be operating the new facility. Adam said: “We are delighted to have secured the space at such an established sporting location and are keen to get the new padel facility open in early January 2024 - if all goes according to plan.”

Austin Carney was supported throughout the deal by Angus White of commercial agent, Naylors Gavin Black.