New era for London Colney as leisure centre opens at last

Cotlandswick Leisure Centre in London Colney

Cotlandswick Leisure Centre in London Colney - Credit: Debbie White/Archant

Residents seeking leisure and sports facilities are spoiled for choice in St Albans as the district opens its third state-of-the-art council-owned centre in just three years.

The council will officially open its £4.8m Cotlandswick Leisure Centre in London Colney this Saturday, June 27.

It comes less than three years after Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre opened in St Albans and one year after the new Batchwood Sports Centre welcomed locals, alongside regular visitor Judy Murray.

Cotlandswick boasts a large air-conditioned gym stocked with the latest training equipment, a small café, soft play area for children, nine artificial grass football pitches, exercise studio and indoor court for recreational badminton and mini-tennis.

An impressed Cllr Annie Brewster, the district council’s portfolio holder for sports and leisure, said: “There is a lot here for the serious gym-goer, but the centre offers something for everyone.


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“It’s extraordinary that it took just 10 months to build, thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone who has been involved. The council has been working with the operator, 1Life, since last year, so it’s been a joint effort.”

The centre’s exercise studio is air-conditioned and is ideal for gym and dance sessions.

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The council’s head of community services, Richard Shwe, said: “There has already been interest from people wanting to take classes – there are going to be Les Mills fitness classes, Zumba and Boxercise.

“In keeping with the design at Batchwood, Cotlandswick has an industrial feel to it but it has good sprung sports floors – so it feels like a proper leisure centre and is not just for football.”

Additional work to be carried out at the centre, which is still seeking part time staff, includes landscaping beyond the artificial pitches.

Martin Holland, general manager of 1Life, said that Cotlandswick’s artificial pitches, which were produced in the UK and tested to Fifa standards, were ideal for five-a-side football game and are growing in popularity.

Richard said that care had been taken to ensure floodlighting was directed onto the pitches so as not to annoy neighbouring residents.

Questions have already been raised, though, by some locals about a lack of a swimming pool at the centre.

Richard pointed out that the authority had recently built three centres and as a new pool would come with a multi-million-pound price tag, there was no funding currently available for such a facility.

• Visitors to Cotlandswick on Saturday will be able to enjoy a free open day from 10am-5pm. Football fans can join an Arsenal Soccer School, footvolley taster sessions and a football tournament on the day. People can also play badminton, mini-tennis, laser tag and join a range of fitness classes.

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