Plans to replace sports facilities at a park in St Albans have finally been given the green light almost two years after the courts were closed.
New tennis and netball courts will be built next to Abbey View Golf and Track, two years after the previous courts were converted into a children’s play area.
St Albans District Council Cabinet approved plans for replacing the Courts in December 2020, with planning permission finally granted on 10 January 2022.
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The new facilities will be built between the athletics track and the car park, on land currently unused in Verulamium Park.
Councilor Chris Davies (Liberal Democrat, Verulam) who chaired the committee said the loss of the original tennis courts was a “big loss” for his constituents, adding “it’s great to see this starting to unfold. shape”.
The works will not affect the trees already in place in the park, nor the trails crossing the park for dog walkers.
Borough council conservation officers noted that Verulamium Park is an “extremely sensitive site” in terms of heritage assets, but said the project was considered acceptable as long as there was additional planting to mask the courts.
A condition to limit the use of 8m high floodlights until 10 p.m. on weekends and 8 p.m. on weekends was also included.
Council officials agreed that the “less than substantial damage” to the conservation area was outweighed by the benefits of the scheme, including making the sport more accessible to the community.
Councilor Liz Needham (Liberal Democrat, Batchwood) raised concerns about the risk of flooding in the park, but officers reassured committee members that ‘robust’ conditions had been put in place to mitigate risk .
A condition on the planning permission will also require work to remove a hedge to make way for the courts to be carried out out of the nesting season, or after a search has been carried out to ensure no harm is done to wildlife.
Officers recommended the project be approved, with planning committee advisers unanimously backing the plans at Monday’s meeting.
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