A project to rebuild a community centre has taken a step forward with a planning application imminent.

St Albans District Council is proposing to demolish Marlborough Pavilion, off Cottonmill Lane, near Sopwell, and create a new community hub.

The new design includes a main hall of 100 square metres, a café, a kitchen suitable for providing event catering and Changing Places toilets.

There will also be wudu wash facilities for members of the Muslim community to carry out ablutions before prayer and a multi-faith quiet room for anyone to use for personal reflection or prayer.

It is envisaged the building will be used by a wide variety of local groups and host many different activities. This may include the scouts, youth groups, yoga and dance classes, play groups and lunch clubs as well as one-off events and celebrations.

A CGI of what a rebuilt Marlborough Pavilion. Credit: St Albans District Council

A CGI of what a rebuilt Marlborough Pavilion. Credit: St Albans District Council

Among new features will be a cycle hub and improvements to an outdoor BMX track beside the building.

Detailed plans have now been drawn up and will be submitted for approval to the council’s planning department in early March, and it will be completed by next March if all goes to plan.

The council says it has consulted closely with a number of local groups about the plans including Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub (CaSH), the Sopwell Community Trust and the Verulam Cycling Club.

Councillor Robert Donald, portfolio holder for commercial and development, said: "I’m sure Sopwell residents will be very pleased to know that our plans are so well advanced and we have now reached the crucial stage of submitting a planning application.

"While there has been talk of making improvements to the Pavilion for many years, I am delighted that we are now actually in a position to action doing just that.

"The council has made it one of its main priorities to refurbish or redevelop existing community facilities and provide new ones where necessary. Marlborough Pavilion is the first of these facilities to benefit from this policy."

Capital funding for the project will come mainly from the council's own resources derived from the sale of new houses at its Leyland Avenue development.

Other bodies, including Sport England and British Cycling, have also been approached for grants. Further community contributions may be sought as well as needed.