New Batchwood Centre underway in St Albans

IT may look like a large heap of dirt and rubble now, but by next summer an empty space at Batchwood in St Albans will boast a brand new £6.2 million sports complex.

Contractors Willmott Dixon began work on the Batchwood Sports Centre last week, following a fire that destroyed the original facility two years ago.

St Albans district council’s head of community services Richard Shwe and senior leisure contracts officer Stuart Foster said that work on a soak away underneath new tennis courts is underway.

And workers have been underpinning a 35m-long brick wall, formerly part of the Gorhambury estate and dating back to the 18th Century, which will be incorporated into the centre.

A web camera will be installed shortly, for security, and to allow residents to watch the construction.

Installation of the building’s steel framework is expected to begin in the second week of October. Once completed, the new complex will be an East of England regional centre of excellence, and of a quality to attract top athletes.

There will be six indoor tennis courts on site and a special judo dojo facility.

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n Free tennis is being offered in St Albans for those keen to further develop their skills. Verulamium Park’s outdoor courts will host a free adult coaching session on Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm, for five weeks, which started on September 3.

At Westminster Lodge free cardio tennis, a tennis-base fitness session which can burn up to 600 calories an hour, is available from 7.30-8.30pm, for six weeks from September 13. See