Access gates to Hitchin playing field are closed off


.... - Credit: Archant

North Hertfordshire College has come under fire after stopping the public entering a well used playing field.

Six entrances to green space at the Centre for the Arts in Willian Road, Hitchin, were blocked last week.

Graham Quick, who lives in Browning Drive, said: “I have enjoyed access to the college field for dog walking and playing with my children as they were growing up. I was very dismayed on Thursday morning to find all the various entrances have been blocked with expensive fencing concreted in place. I walked down to the main entrance and gained access that way.

“Anyone wishing to use the field has to get in from the Cambridge Road site and cross a very busy road. This is not ideal when children will have to travel quite a distance and cross very high traffic density roads. It is only a matter of weeks since a pedestrian lost their life on this road.”

Stephen Chapman, who also lives in the town, said: “I would have assumed that the college would have wanted to integrate into the community rather than alienate it.

“I think we all appreciate the college grounds are not public areas but a sensible approach was needed here. All this decision does is annoy people who have supported the college and caused unnecessary inconvenience.”

The college said: “Over the years we have allowed members of the public access to our land, but unfortunately we have had numerous incidents which has forced us to take action.

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“Dog mess, flytipping and anti-social behaviour after dark have all contributed to our decision.

“For the safety of our students, it is with regret that we are closing the six access gates onto the Hitchin sports fields.”

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