St Albans’ Batchwood Centre rebuild gets go-ahead

Batchwood Hall Bowls Club. One year on after fire.

Batchwood Hall Bowls Club. One year on after fire. - Credit: Archant

WORK on rebuilding tennis facilities at Batchwood in St Albans can now go ahead after a decision was taken by the Secretary of State not to call the scheme in.

A fire in August 2011 destroyed the Batchwood Centre which included tennis, bowls and golf facilities. Planning permission for new golf and bowls pavilions was granted last October and now the district council can proceed with the whole scheme.

The application for new tennis facilities and a regional centre of excellence for judo to replace the existing building at the Ariston Works site had to be referred to the Secretary of State because of its location in the Green Belt.

The new centre will include six indoor tennis courts – two more than in the original building – and a special dojo facility for St Albans Judo Club.

There will also be a gym and condition room for tennis and judo athletes plus a coach education room, a café, a sports massage facility and a sports injury clinic. The existing squash courts will also be refurbished as part of the development.

The council has applied for funding from Sport England’s Iconic Facilities Fund and the Lawn Tennis Association. Money from the fire insurers will help cover the cost of the new facility and other funding options are also being explored.

Cabinet will consider a detailed plan for the funding and construction of the tennis and judo facilities at their meeting next Thursday, January 17.