October 20 - Badminton England has unveiled plans to relocate from its existing site to a new £20 million ($32 million/€25 million) facility at The National Bowl in Milton Keynes which is due to be opened before Britain's elite players begin their bid to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The sport's governing body has submitted an initial application to Milton Keynes Council for what has been described as one of the best training and community sport facilities in the world.
Badminton England's relocation from the National Badminton Centre to The Bowl would see the land at its existing Milton Keynes base at Bradwell Road, Loughton – which it has occupied since January 2000 – being sold for development.
A more detailed planning application will be submitted by January next year and the plan is to be relocated to the new site, which includes a 3,000-seater arena, by the spring of 2015.
The initial application includes a minimum 16 court indoor badminton hall, new fitness club, administrative accommodation, athlete accommodation, and associated car parking space.
Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England, said the move was inspired by the massive demand for badminton courts, the desire to replicate tournament conditions in a training environment for the British programme and the council's ambition to position Milton Keynes as an international sporting city.
"As minimum, the National Badminton Centre will double in size," he told MK News.
"Demand for court time outstrips supply and we have to frequently turn clubs and casual players away because we simply don't have the space for them.
"We want to remain in Milton Keynes because of the fantastic support we have here and we see The Bowl as the perfect place to enable Badminton England and MK Council to realise an amazing vision that will deliver fantastic benefits for the local community as well as enable our world class players and stars of the future to train and prepare in the best possible environment.
"The arena will also allow Milton Keynes to attract major national, European and international sporting events.
"Not just badminton competitions, but several other sporting events that might include volleyball, table tennis, netball and basketball.
"The support from partners for this venture has been overwhelming including MK Council, the land owners and Sport England who have mentioned this project alongside other world class facilities such as the new St George's Park Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent and Manchester's redeveloped National Cycling Centre.
"We are now conducting due diligence and undertaking a period of full consultation prior to planning being submitted."
Christy added that the project would be of major benefit to players at all levels of the sport and will bring significant economic growth to Milton Keynes.
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