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Harpenden Leisure Centre – launch postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions

Publication date:

The opening of Harpenden’s new multi-million-pound leisure centre has been postponed because of the Government’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

The superb new facility on the edge of Rothamsted Park was due to open its doors on Monday 4 January.

However, since the launch date was announced, Hertfordshire has been moved into Tier Four, requiring all gyms and swimming pools to be closed.

The centre will now open as soon as possible after the District is moved back to a lower tier.

After a change is announced, some time will be needed to allow for staff training and further checks on equipment and operating systems.

The new opening date will be publicised as soon as it has been decided.

Owned by St Albans City and District Council, the Leisure Centre is managed on its behalf by contractors 1Life.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Heritage and Public Realm, said:

It is really unfortunate that we cannot open on the 4th of January, but I am sure people will understand that this is due to events outside of our control.

We have been building up to this New Year launch and I know that there was a great deal of excitement in and around Harpenden about this great new community asset.

Reducing the impact of the pandemic is, of course, the country’s top priority and we are just going to have to wait a bit longer before we get the all-clear to finally open the doors.

Having toured the building several times, I know that people are going to be hugely impressed by what is on offer and feel that it was well worth waiting for.

The new centre boasts a 25-metre-long swimming pool, a learner pool, an 80-station gym, sports hall, two exercise studios, spin room, sauna, steam room, changing village and café.

It is the fourth new multi-sports centre that the Council has delivered in the District in the past few years and is intended to serve residents in Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathampstead and surrounding villages.

1Life are offering an early bird membership for £29.99 a month, offering full access to all facilities and exercise classes.

The Government is due to review the COVID-19 tiers on Wednesday 30 December.

Steve Banbury, 1Life Commercial Director, said:

After the restrictions are relaxed, whenever that may be, we will look to get the centre fully mobilised as soon as possible.

As soon as we are notified that Harpenden is moving to a lower tier that allows us to reopen, we will make the necessary preparations and review the opening date. We will keep all customers and sports clubs fully informed of all that is happening. Please keep an eye out on the various social media platforms for updates.

We will keep all our members and sports clubs fully informed of all that is happening.”

The Council is also creating a new Harpenden Culture Centre on the site of the old sports hall in Rothamsted Park with the overall project costing around £20 million.

This will be named the Eric Morecambe Centre after the comedy legend who lived in the town before his death in 1984.

It will include a 511-seat theatre, an exhibition space, two function rooms, a local history room, bars on two floors and a coffee shop with views across the park. It is on schedule to open in the late spring.

Councillor Robert Donald, Portfolio Holder for Commercial, Development and Wellbeing, said:

The creation of these fantastic new leisure and culture centres will be transformational particularly for Harpenden and the surrounding villages.

“Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 we have managed to keep both projects on or very close to schedule during the past year which is a real achievement.

“It means that the residents of Harpenden and the surrounding area have something to look forward to once the pandemic eases and we are allowed to open for business.

Any enquiries about the Leisure Centre should be emailed to

Councillor contacts: Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Heritage and Public Realm,, 07761 232064.

Cllr Robert Donald, Portfolio Holder for Commercial, Development and Wellbeing: 841647.

Media contact: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City District Council: 01727-819533,