Redevelopment Proposals – Squash
Here are the contents of an open letter sent to St Albans Councillors.
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 10:50 PM
BATCHWOOD LEISURE REDEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS - SQUASH
With this email I attach a letter on behalf
of The Herts Squash Rackets Association. As with my emailed letter sent
earlier today it would be greatly appreciated if you could give
consideration to it's content prior to the meeting on 6th December.
Peter Bonser (Batchwood)
Re : Batchwood Leisure Redevelopment Proposals – Squash
Herts Squash has been contacted by the squash players at Batchwood about
the impending Leisure Connections review of sport facilities there and in
particular how this might affect future squash provision.
We are now aware of the Option 1 proposal to remove 1 of the 2 squash
courts in favour of extending the gym and fitness rooms over 2 floors
leaving the 1 court. Option 2 would retain both courts. We
understand monthly club leagues have been ongoing for the duration of the
squash courts' existence and currently some 40+ players participate
regularly in these leagues, most having done so for many years. There is
also a significant number other regular non-league players.
What is of specific interest to us is that in the last 5 years the players
have organised a team that plays all the year round in the Herts Squash
League. This involves travelling weekly to matches around the county
representing Batchwood. Such has been the enthusiasm that in the last 2
years there is now a second Batchwood team playing in the League. Teams
participating in the League are taking part in a competitive but social
team sport, which includes dining together post-match both away and at
Batchwood. The keen rivalry in these matches is the means by which a high
standard of squash is maintained. Talent nurtured in our Leagues forms the
lifeblood for county and ultimately national and international standard
Herts Squash particularly need to make you aware that participation in our
League is dependant on there being at least 2 courts in order to complete
the games in the evening. Having only 1 court would mean that most players
would be forced to move to another club to play their Herts League and
club squash or stop playing altogether and the cost of squash at some of
the private clubs may be prohibitive for some.
We therefore wish to strongly offer our support for Option 2, which would
allow for the continuation of a flourishing squash 'club' at Batchwood.
This is also of particular relevance in that it is understood Leisure
Connections are also looking to close both squash courts at Harpenden.
Should you close both courts at Harpenden and 1 at Batchwood this, we are
sure you are aware, will leave only 1 Council owned court in the St Albans
area. This means that squash will effectively be no longer available as a
council provided sport.
Whilst it is true that some clubs have reduced the number of courts we
believe that the slide in popularity of squash has stopped. In fact my own
small members club in Radlett has just finished refurbishing the 3rd and
4th courts for £50,000. Bishops Stortford, Broxbourne, Berkhamsted, Tring,
Northwood, R3 in Stevenage and others have recently invested in new
buildings and extra staff.
I can send details of Hertfordshire's prowess in the Junior National
County Championships and the flourishing Junior inter-club leagues, if you
would like some evidence.
As the County Development Officer for Hertfordshire I find that where
there is a will, squash is very successful. The courts may also be used
creatively in off-peak periods. Cannons use their courts as a Crèche and
for fitness training and circuits whenever the squash courts are not
normally booked. I can offer my advice and access to our National
Development Team if you would like any help. Do you remember the "Squash
Taster Day" that I ran at Batchwood five years ago? It is a strange
coincidence that squash has become very active since then. It just
requires a little effort and maybe some help.
To conclude Herts Squash would be very disappointed to see the demise of
squash at Batchwood and more particularly Council provision of the sport.
Herts County Squash