I made a commitment to myself many years ago, when the squash club closed, that if I was ever in a position to improve the racquets and gym facilities in Bedford I would make it happen. And so, when I sold my previous business in 2012, I was finally able to make a start on realising the dream. It has not been straightforward! Buying a suitable plot of land was very difficult, and my thanks must go to the Mayor Dave Hodgson, and the Borough Council for helping me along the way, when I needed their support. We started the planning process in mid-2015, the land purchase was completed in January 2016, and planning approval followed quickly after this.
I worked on the design for over 2 years with Hooper Architects – a Dutch firm with a long history in the sport and leisure industry, and we tried to incorporate all of the essential elements of a high class health and racquets facility. I visited a huge number of clubs across the UK and Holland over a 4 year period to look at best design practice, and this was very helpful when making decisions about what would (and would not!) work. The build took almost exactly a year – commencing on 4th April 2016 and completing in early March 2017, and our main contractors, Pellikaan Construction, did a wonderful job for us, notwithstanding the inevitable teething issues!