A community regeneration project on a neglected Hitchin estate to finally get under way this week.

Dignitaries from North Herts district council gather to mark the start of the first phase of develop

Dignitaries from North Herts district council gather to mark the start of the first phase of development on the Westmill Estate - Credit: Archant

A community regeneration project on a neglected Hitchin estate is finally getting under way this week.

The John Barker Place project will see a new Westmill Community Centre built by North Hertfordshire Homes on behalf of North Herts District Council.

A spokesman for the housing association – which is also building 39 new affordable rent homes and making improvements to garages, homes and shops in the area – said: “The total investment cost for the community centre, retail outlets and new homes is projected to be £7 million.

“This is a 21/2 year project which we are aiming to have completed by the end of 2017.

“The community will benefit from 39 affordable rent homes available to local people, upgraded shops with larger facilities, better layout of community facilities including the new community centre, a multi-use games area sited in a better location and new children’s area.”


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North Hertfordshire Homes development project manager Keeley Hale said: “We’re very excited to finally get started. This is a major programme of works and is going to make a real difference to the area.

“We want to make sure we cause as little disruption as possible to households, the takeaway and Londis store while we do the work.

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“The shops are a very important part of the Westmill community so we don’t want to interrupt the service they offer.”

Frank Radcliffe, leader of the Labour Group added: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for the regeneration of the area and hopefully it will bring a big boost to the shops and businesses in the area.”

Pauline Pearce, Hitchin’s Lib Dem candidate in last month’s general election who once lived in nearby Mattocke Road, said: “It’s long overdue. The people of Westmill deserve good facilities and affordable rented houses.

“It’s so important for the Westmill community to have a space they can call their own.

“I hope the fees to rent out the new hall, and the new homes, are kept at a reasonable price so people can actually afford to use the hall, and live in an affordable rented house in Hitchin.”

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