St Albans mayor at bricklaying ceremony to herald new Batchwood

Willmott Dixon managing director Chris Tredget and mayor Annie Brewster lay a brick

Willmott Dixon managing director Chris Tredget and mayor Annie Brewster lay a brick - Credit: Archant

Bricklaying was all in a day’s work for the Mayor of St Albans who led a ceremony to mark the rebuilding of Batchwood Sports Centre as the work nears completion.

The sports centre in Batchwood Drive was gutted in a fire in 2011 but brand-new facilities are being constructed in its place ready for the opening in May.

Last Wednesday the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Annie Brewster, was led on a tour of the site by pupils from Verulam School, who have been working with St Albans district council’s contractors Willmott Dixon on a project about architecture and construction management.

Cllr Brewster said: “It is a complete pleasure to lead the bricklaying ceremony to mark the re-building of this wonderful city sports facility that will cater for both mass participation and high performance sport.

“Not only am I impressed by the huge natural light panels in the state-of-the-art curved indoor courts roof but the way the former mansion’s locally listed garden wall and wrought-iron gates have been incorporated into the design.”

The new sports centre is set to be almost twice the size of the original and will be an East of England regional tennis centre of excellence with six indoor courts. It will also provide one of the largest permanent judo dojos in the south east, a larger 50 station gym, refurbished squash courts and a café.

Cllr Brewster added: “This amazing quirky architectural feature, with its stone spheres standing over five metres above the courts, has to be St Albans’ answer to Wimbledon. I can’t wait to see the centre finally completed later this spring.”

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New pavilions for the nearby golf and bowls clubs that were also destroyed in the fire have been rebuilt and are occupied by Batchwood Hall Golf Club and Batchwood Hall Bowling Club.