Badminton England chief challenges council: ‘Sporting projects that could have transformed Milton Keynes have been lost’

National Bowl
National Bowl

A £22million vision to build a national centre for badminton at the Bowl has been scrapped amid concerns over cost.

Badminton England had planning permission for a 17-court arena with 3,000 seats as part of MK’s aspirations to become an International Sporting City.

National Bowl site

National Bowl site

But this week the governing body pulled out of plans to use the site for its new headquarters.

It comes soon after MK Dons similarly failed to come to an agreement with the council, as well as plans for the UK’s largest indoor waterpark falling through last month.

Badminton England’s chief executive Adrian Christy is now challenging the council on its “failure” to provide sporting facilities in the city.

He said: “Three massive sporting projects that could have transformed Milton Keynes have been lost.

“The National Bowl is an iconic place and it has got sporting opportunity written all over it.

“I genuinely hope there is a resurgence of enthusiasm to try and put Milton Keynes on the sporting map.”

Badminton England planned to sell its eight-court centre at Loughton and use the money for the new project.

In 2013, the council agreed a deal to provide £10million for the project from the sale.

But despite this - they were £3million short in delivering the funding.

Mr Christy blamed rising costs in construction, which would have put Badminton England at “considerable risk”.

This week the council says it remains committed to supporting the development of sport, with the upcoming Rugby World Cup being a “testament” to this commitment.

However, Mr Christy criticised council leader Pete Marland for putting too much focus on October’s event.

He added: “The council needs to look beyond that because it is only three matches.

“It will shine a light on MK for a couple of weeks, but a legacy is not easy to deliver.

“Milton Keynes does not have the facilities to do that.”

Mr Marland said: “As a council we are always looking to enhance and develop as a sporting city.

“We will continue to throw ourselves into our role as a Host City for Rugby World Cup 2015, which is going to be massive for MK and quite literally a ‘game changer’. We will be discussing future opportunities for the land at a cabinet meeting in September.”