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Work on new Harpenden sports and cultural centres to kick start in April

PUBLISHED: 17:16 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:16 25 March 2019

The current Harpenden swimming pool, which will be superceded by the new development. Picture: Krishan Bhungar.

The current Harpenden swimming pool, which will be superceded by the new development. Picture: Krishan Bhungar.

Archant

Building work on a £18.8 million sport and cultural centre in Harpenden will kick start in April.

The construction programme has been accelerated to keep costs down and so residents can use the new facilities sooner, which include an extended swimming pool and multi-sports centre in Rothamsted Park and a 511-seat theatre.

Planning permission for the development was granted last year by St Albans district council (SADC).

Portfolio holder for sport and culture at SADC, Cllr Annie Brewster, said: “We have delivered three new leisure centres in the district over the last six years which is quite an achievement.

“We are delighted to be building a fourth to cater for Harpenden and the villages in the north of the district.

“In this case, we are not only creating a fantastic new sports centre with a wide range of facilities, but we are also creating a new arts and cultural centre.”

The current pool building is being extended to create an improved main pool, a new 17m learner pool, a sports hall, exercise studios, a larger gym, new changing rooms, a steam room and sauna, a café and reception area.

When the works start, the current main pool will be closed from April 29 to May 27. It will then be open until May 2020, when it will close until December of that year.

The learner pool will permanently close on April 29.

During the disruption the swim school programme will be suspended, but swimmers will be able to use Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans.

Portfolio holder for commercial and development at SADC, Cllr Julian Daly, said: “We have consulted with the public throughout and taken on board their views during public workshops when groups and interested individuals helped shape our plans.

“I’m very confident that the people of Harpenden will be pleased with the outcome, which will be high-quality sports and arts centres.

“It will become a focal point for the community.”

Work on the cultural centre is expected to start in November 2019 and finish in December 2020.

Harpenden Public Halls is currently scheduled to be closed shortly after the last pantomime performance of the 2020/21 festive season. All activities will then be relocated to the new cultural centre.

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