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30 August 2011, 11:24 | Updated: 30 August 2011, 11:53
More than 800 people have signed a petition supporting the rebuilding of a tennis centre destroyed in an arson attack.
The deliberately-started fire at The Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre, St Albans, destroyed the indoor tennis centre and bowls club. The gym was saved from the flames on Wednesday 10 August 2011.
The e-petition calls for a speedy rebuild of the centre. Work is already underway by St Albans City and District Council to get the centre back up and running. In the meantime, a bubble is going to be placed above three outdoor courts to create an air hall to allow indoor tennis to be played, but this won't happen until October 2011. Outdoor tennis has been moved to other facilities in the St Albans area.
Mike Wakely, the councillor in charge of Sports and Leisure at St Albans City and District Council, said: "I would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time, including the emergency services, officers and the neighbouring Batchwood nightclub.
"The Council is working with our partners to do all we can to ensure that local people and clubs continue to have access to sports facilities either at Batchwood, or if that is not possible, elsewhere in the area. I am pleased to say that people can now play golf again at Batchwood and soon tennis players will also have the opportunity to resume play at the site.
"We understand that these measures offer a temporary solution only. However, we have begun talks with our partners about plans to rebuild new facilities at Batchwood to replace those destroyed by the fire."
Four people aged between 17 and 23 were questioned by police on suspicion of arson following the fire.