A new soft play area is set to open in Letchworth next year.

The area is being built at North Herts Leisure Centre in Baldock Road following a public consultation in August.

Over 1,000 people responded to the consultation, with 91 per cent of respondents agreeing that the soft play area would be a positive addition to the leisure centre's facilitis.

66 per cent of respondents indicated that their family would be likely to use a soft play facility at the leisure centre at least fortnightly.

The soft play area will have a toddler and junior area and provision for parties, as well as seating and refreshments.

While the new facility will be an extension of the leisure centre, it will also involve the conversion of two of the four squash courts and the changing rooms located in the same area.

North Herts Council says that "the remaining two squash courts and changing rooms offer adequate provision based on usage data".

The facility is due to open for the Easter holidays in April next year and will cost £250,000 to build.

Of the £250,000, £100,000 had previously been allocated for a planned refurbishment of the changing rooms that will now be lost as part of the conversion.

The Comet: An image showing what the planned soft play area will look likeAn image showing what the planned soft play area will look like (Image: North Herts Council)

Cllr Steve Jarvis, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “Introducing a soft play facility at North Herts Leisure Centre will enhance the range of leisure facilities on offer, providing a dedicated play space for families with toddlers and young children within the local area.

"The new facility will enable more people to use the centre, aiding the recovery of leisure facilities after the Covid pandemic.

"It’s a great investment in our leisure portfolio for the benefit of all residents in the future.”

Lee Medlock, operations director from Stevenage Leisure Ltd (SLL), which manages the council’s leisure facilities, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with North Herts Council on this exciting project, which will increase the range of activities on offer to our community.

"We are confident that the addition of the soft play facility to North Herts Leisure Centre will provide a fun and exciting opportunity for children to play and increase their physical activity levels.”