Campaign to protect Hitchin playground users successful

A PLAYGROUND in Hitchin will have its fencing reinstated to protect children from unruly dogs and their fouling, following a successful campaign.

The King George V playground had the fencing removed around the perimeter of the area, after an independent risk assessment ruled it was unnecessary.

Hitchin area committee took the matter to North Herts District Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, which approved the move to put the protection back in, on the condition that the area committee funded the �6,450 for it.

“It’s really good news,” said chairman of Hitchin Committee Cllr Judi Billing.

“Lots of people that we have spoken to have been really supportive, including dog owners. They’ve said that it’s the right thing to do.

“It should be the right of the committee to do what it thinks is best for the good of the town.”

The move was also welcomed by parents and schools, including the nearby Strathmore pre-school.

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“It is a great relief to me, as a parent and as chairman of Strathmore Pre-school,” said chairman of the school Deborah Segalini.

“I hope the council will be quick in putting the fencing up, so that our children can make the most of the improving weather and enjoy the facilities without us parents worrying about dog excrement.”

The upkeep and repairs of the re-fencing will be the responsibility of the committee.

Although a timescale has not been given for when this will take effect, NHDC said that it would be a matter of urgency.

“It was agreed that the new fencing and its maintenance and future repair would be funded by Hitchin Area Committee,” said Cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC portfolio holder for leisure.

“As a council, we feel it is important to listen to local communities to ensure that people are given the chance to have a direct impact on their environment.”