Circus ruins Letchworth recreation ground

A RECREATION ground which turned into “a ploughed field” after being used by a circus cannot be used for similar events for the rest of the year.

Zippo’s Circus left Baldock Road Recreation Ground in Letchworth GC on Friday, with North Herts District Council receiving a number of complaints about its condition afterwards.

Paul Ross, a councillor for Letchworth Garden City Council, was one of those to raise the issue with the district council.

“I drive past there regularly and the day the circus went on it looked like a ploughed field,” said the Pixmore Way resident.

“The damage is awful and it is upsetting everybody that uses it. It’s not just the field either, the car park is covered in mud and getting to the recycling bins is a bit treacherous. It’s a terrible shame.”

The recreation ground will remain open to the public but is likely to be out of action for big events for the remainder of the year.

The district council will be reinstating the grassed areas - which could grow back in six weeks depending on the weather - with Zippo’s Circus covering the costs of repair.

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Vaughan Watson, the district council’s head of leisure and environment, said: “It is unfortunate that the arrival of the circus has coincided with a particularly bad spell of weather. Work to restore the grass can begin once the ground has dried out, so when the weather improves we’ll be levelling the area and laying new grass seed. It may take a while for it to grow back fully.

“Meanwhile we are monitoring the situation at Butts Close, Hitchin, where the circus has moved to and will be meeting with the circus owners later in the week.”

Martin Burton, director of Zippo’s Circus, said: “This is extremely unfortunate but as everyone knows the weather in the UK has been extremely wet. We did everything we could while on site to minimise the damage but were working against the elements.

“As with all the beautiful parks we visit we leave a deposit with the local council to reinstate the ground back to its original condition - in this case with ongoing wet weather this will take longer than usual. In the meantime we apologise to those affected in the local community and ask people to bear with us.”