St Albans' Batchwood sports centre to be demolished after blaze

PUBLISHED: 18:47 31 August 2011

Batchwood fire

Batchwood fire

D.CONNEW.2011

Remains of fire-ravaged Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre will be cleared by end of September

DEMOLITION of the fire-gutted remains of Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre, destroyed in a suspected arson attack in St Albans three weeks ago, is to begin on Monday.

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said a contract had recently been signed for the shell of the centre to be cleared, despite demolition companies being busy in the capital, clearing up wreckage in the wake of the recent London riots.

Both the tennis centre and the bowls club were destroyed in the fire which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, August 10, but fire crews were able to save part of the gym. The council is still awaiting the outcome of an insurance claim as it determines the future of the popular facility.

Richard said the remains would be taken down in stages, with preparation work already underway, and the demolition was expected to be completed by the end of September.

He added: “It is classed as a dangerous site so we have to be careful how we take it down.”

Richard said council officers had worked swiftly to organise the demolition and were on site every day to assess the situation.

Local residents and centre users are behind efforts to have the centre rebuilt.

Tom Nash, of St Albans, said: “The destruction of the leisure centre has caused so much grief to all its users.”

At the time of going to press more than 920 people had signed an e-petition in support of the immediate rebuilding of Batchwood as a tennis and golf complex. To sign it see http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/10262

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