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Badgers will not be upset

Two setts of badgers are being protected so work can go ahead on a new leisure centre without disturbing the animals.

The badgers have been found living on scrubland next to the building site of a £15m leisure centre in Sandwell.

It is thought there are 16 badgers living near the site, which is due to be the new Portway Lifestyle Centre, to open in 2013.

Contractors preparing the building site have closed one entrance to the sett and put up fencing to stop the badgers getting onto the building site. They have also planted new scrub for the animals to provide them with food and cover. The work is costing around £3,000.

Cllr Linda Horton, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for leisure services, said: “We have been given a licence by Natural England to carry out the work and we will ensure the badgers are properly protected.”

The new leisure centre is being built to replace the Oldbury Leisure Centre, which will eventually be demolished. Work is due to start on the new centre in 2012.

Facilities will include a sports hall, hydrotherapy pool, café, sensory garden, climbing wall, dance studio and fitness suite, and a full-size sports pitch.

The centre will also have a GP surgery. It will have facilities for the disabled and will be one of the first of its kind in the country.

Sandwell Council is working with Sandwell Primary Care Trust, Sandwell Local Improvement Trust (LIFTCo) and Sandwell Leisure Trust, which will run the centre.

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