�2.7m renovation for Letchworth park begins

MILLIONS of pounds worth of restoration work is officially underway at a Letchworth GC park following a ceremony held yesterday (Monday).

The start of North Hertfordshire District Council’s �2.7m restoration of Howard Park and Gardens in Letchworth GC was celebrated as cllr Ian Knighton sunk his spade into the turf, joined by the Friends of Howard Park and Gardens and contractors, UPM Tilhill.

The restoration will include the refurbishment of the paddling pool, the creation of improved play areas and new routes added through and around the park.

A new bridge will be built over Pix Brook, a stream running alongside the park, and a reproduction of the statue of Sappho will be installed to replace the original which was stolen several years ago.

At the same time, new facilities will be introduced for visitors, including a kiosk for refreshments and new modern toilets.

Funding for the scheme has come largely from the Parks for People programme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund.

UPM Tilhill, who have been appointed as the contractors responsible for all construction, mechanical and electrical elements of the project together with hard and soft landscaping, expect to complete the work in autumn 2011.

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“Today marks the beginning of a significant project for Letchworth GC, made possible by funding from the Parks for People programme,” said cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC’s portfolio holder for leisure, while speaking at yesterday’s ceremony.

“We will be keeping people informed of progress throughout the project and hope to gather more ideas along the way of how local people would like to see the park used in the future.

“Howard Park and Gardens is of historical importance to Letchworth GC and a real asset to the town centre. Our hope is that the restoration work that begins today will breathe new life into the area and restore its position as a key community venue.”

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, added: “This is wonderful news for visitors too, and everyone involved in Howard Park and Gardens.

“This shared green space was a central part of the thinking behind the Garden City and for nearly a century has been at the heart community life.

“This work will mean the park is restored and given a fresh lease of life so that the people of Letchworth GC can enjoy the park in years to come.”

For full details of the plans on NHDC’s website, click on the link at the top right of the page.