Beds, Herts & Bucks

£22m Milton Keynes badminton headquarters approved

Artists impression of the new National Badminton Centre Image copyright Badminton England
Image caption Plans for the new centre include a 16-court badminton hall, and a 3,000-seat arena

A £22m headquarters and training base for Badminton England is to be built in Milton Keynes after councillors gave it the go-ahead.

The sport's governing body announced plans to move from its existing centre in the Loughton area of the town to The National Bowl last year.

To fund the project, about 100 homes will be built on the current site, despite objections from residents.

It is hoped the new National Badminton Centre will be ready by spring 2015.

There was heckling from the public gallery at the meeting of Milton Keynes Council on Monday night from opponents of the plans.

'Community benefit'

Protesters are concerned the new houses could cause overcrowding and congestion.

Alex Regan said: "It's not the building of the properties that's the issue, it's the consequences."

However, chief executive of Badminton England, Adrian Christy, is confident of winning over opponents.

He said: "It's a project that our players are hugely looking forward to as they prepare for [the] Rio [Olympics in] 2016, and it's also a project that thousands of people who use the badminton centre day in, day out, week in, week out, will see the benefit of.

"It's not just about a world-class facility, it's a huge community benefit as well."

Plans include a 16-court badminton hall, a 3,000-seat arena, fitness club and athlete accommodation.

Badminton England has been at its present base in Bradwell Road since 2000.

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