Insurance decisions after St Albans Batchwood Tennis Centre blaze

A DECISION on an insurance claim for the golf and tennis centre should be known within a matter of weeks, a district councillor has confirmed.

But it will not help some sportspeople who stored expensive bowling and other equipment at the centre and have been told their contents are not covered under their household insurance policy.

Insurance for the building itself was organised by St Albans district council as owners of the centre but those clubs using it cover their own contents with members responsible for insuring personal items stored in lockers.

Cabinet member Brian Ellis, who has a background in the banking and insurance industries, said there were ongoing discussions with the centre’s insurers.

He added: “It looks like everything is going to be fine, but it just takes time. It is insured and what is happening is we are going through the process of claiming on the insurance.”

Cllr Ellis said the insurers would want to establish the cause of the fire and make sure the insurance policy covered the claim, “which it appears to do.”

How much of that replacement would be covered by insurance would, however, depend on what the council decided to build on the site and if it wanted to have more facilities, it would need to find additional funding, he added.

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Bowls player Peter Coxall, of St Albans, said that he approached his insurers to make a claim under his household insurance policy for the loss of his bowls and other items left in his locked personal locker before the devastating fire. But he was told that the items were not covered.

He added: “Apparently they would have been covered if left in a locked hotel room but not in my locked locker at the bowls club. This is just another example of insurance companies using obscurely worded small print to avoid their liabilities. Others beware.”

Pat Savage, the current president of Batchwood Hall Bowling Club, said some members were, “unfortunately not covered, while others were.”

She went on: “At the moment we haven’t been allowed back on to the green, and until it is cleared it is too dangerous.”

But local bowling clubs have been quick to offer assistance. Pat explained: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the St Albans Bowling Club which was straight on the phone to us, offering us use of their green at Clarence Park. Others have also come forward too, we have had lots of offers of help and are very, very well supported.”

St Albans Bowling Club has freed its green to allow Batchwood members to hold a ladies gala fund-raiser following the fire, on Thursday, September 8.

n Batchwood Hall Golf Club is up and running again after the blaze but as its club house was totally destroyed, it is being temporary accommodated at New Green Residents Club.

The golf club believes it had adequate insurance cover for its contents.