Blunder over narrow path at St Albans bowls club

The narrow pavement outside the new bowls club at Batchwood Hall

The narrow pavement outside the new bowls club at Batchwood Hall - Credit: Archant

After their pavilion was destroyed by fire two years ago, bowlers were thrilled when their new clubhouse was recently winched into place by crane in St Albans.

But while St Albans district council is in form when paving the way for a new clubhouse, it would seem it is rather green when planning for footpaths.

Batchwood Hall Bowling Club members have discovered their new clubhouse has been built with an extremely narrow footpath which means they have to walk into their pavilion single file, and the front doors have to be opened inwards.

Club secretary Barbara Palmer explained that the path near the pavilion’s front doors was just two paving stones wide.

She said: “We discovered the footpath was too narrow when the building was put there. It’s not safe as there is a drop onto the green. The other three paths around the green are three paving stones wide, and are fine.”

Barbara explained that the original clubhouse, which was razed in a devastating fire in August 2011, had a generous buffer between the building and the original green, with stairs leading to the front doors, a wide path and grass verge.

She said: “Now we have to walk to the front door in single file. It’s ridiculous.”

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Barbara added that it was difficult for members with disabilities to access the new clubhouse. Also, the front doors had to be opened inwards rather than outwards, because they might hit bowlers walking along the narrow path.

But with the doors having to be opened inwards, and strict fire safety regulations, it has had the knock-on effect of limiting the number of people who can be present in the building to 60. However the club has 80 members, who often want to invite partners to events.

Cllr for Batchwood Roma Mills said it seemed a shame that after a two year wait for the new building there was a problem with access.

She said: “It also means you can’t sit outside to watch those on the green during summer.”

Portfolio holder for sports Cllr Mike Wakely said the problem would be addressed, adding, “we obviously need to do something as it does need extra width.”