Work to develop London Colney leisure centre underway after "long drawn out saga" (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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Work to develop London Colney leisure centre underway after "long drawn out saga"
WORK to develop a new leisure centre in London Colney is now one step closer to being completed after St Albans District Council has stepped in to fund the project.
Initially a leisure operator was funding the construction of the new leisure facility at Cotlandswick Open Space, which will include a 60-station fitness centre and eight five-a-side and one seven-a-side sport pitches.
In 2005 the need for a new updated leisure centre in the south of the district was identified, with Cotlandswick approved as the location in 2007.
However, six years later, work remains incomplete after the developer DC Leisure pulled out.
St Albans District Council has now stepped in to fund the construction, using income earned from the facility over 25 years, a combination of Section 106 money borrowings and capital already allocated to the project.
The new Cotlandswick leisure facility will replace the Bricket Wood Sports Centre, which closed in February 2010, and the London Colney Recreation Centre.
At a cabinet meeting last Thursday night, Councillor Dreda Gordon stressed the need for a soft play area to be included in plans when the council takes over cost responsibilities.
There is currently a soft play area in London Colney Recreation Centre.
London Colney councillor Jacob Quagliozzi said: "The current soft play area is fantastic and very well used. We have been told that in one year 40,000 people come through the doors to use the soft play area.
"It would be a great loss in the village, especially for young families."
The cabinet agreed to look in to proposals to meet this request.
Councillor Quagliozzi added he was pleased work was finally underway.
He said: "This has been a long drawn out saga. Credit is due to everyone who has been involved in finally getting the project underway.
"Residents have been frustrated with how long it has taken, so for me and Dreda as district councillors we want to pull everyone together now it is finally happening.
"It is good to see the plans are still on the table and commitment to this is still there. I am pleased to see Councillor Mike Wakely is committed to addressing residents, district councillors and the parish council."
Council funding for the £4.5m project will be run in a similar way to that used for the construction of Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre.
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