Regional centre of excellence will offer a helping hand to young tennis aces

The Batchwood Sports Centre developement is well under way. Picture (c) Pete Stevens ''''
The Batchwood Sports Centre developement is well under way. Picture (c) Pete Stevens ''''

Tennis starlets from across the county will have the chance to hone their skills at a new state-of-the-art east of England regional tennis centre of excellence at Batchwood Sports Centre in St Albans.

The centre is close to completion, having been rebuilt following a devastating fire in 2011 which destroyed tennis and other sports facilities at the site in Batchwood Drive.

The new sports centre will be almost twice the size of the original and boasts six indoor courts, one of the largest permanent judo dojos in the south east, a larger 50-station gym and refurbished squash courts.

The facility is being built by the by St Albans City and District Council’s contractor Willmott Dixon Construction and will be completed in May.

St Albans Mayor, cllr Annie Brewster, said: “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.”

The fire also destroyed the nearby golf and bowls clubhouses at Batchwood. New pavilions for both sports have since been rebuilt and are occupied by Batchwood Hall Golf Club and Batchwood Hall Bowling Club.

Cllr Mike Wakely, portfolio holder for sports, leisure and heritage for St Albans City and District Council, added: “Once finished the centre will be a wonderful base for budding tennis and judo stars to train and develop their skills.

Anybody interested in joining the tennis coaching programme at the new centre should contact Leisure Connection on 01727 844250.