Consultation over new look for Hitchin park

A RUN-DOWN town centre park could be improved next year as a council looks to clamp down on anti-social behaviour. North Herts District Council has announced it will hold a public consultation on Bancroft Park in Hitchin after numerous cases of anti-soci

A RUN-DOWN town centre park could be improved next year as a council looks to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.

North Herts District Council has announced it will hold a public consultation on Bancroft Park in Hitchin after numerous cases of anti-social behaviour, including arson attacks on buildings in the park, which has been subject to a police dispersal order since October.

Ian Knighton, portfolio holder for leisure at the council, said: "In the spring it is intended to start a consultation with all park users and the wider community looking at reducing anti-social behaviour, increasing green space and maximising the community benefits of the park."

But efforts to improve the park will mean the rebuilding of Hitchin Lawn Tennis Club's club house, which was destroyed by arsonists in September, will be put on hold.

"In order to maximise future community benefit the council would like to include new, more appropriate facilities for the club and other users of the park within the overall scheme of improvements to Bancroft," Cllr Knighton continued. "If the pavilion was replaced now it would preclude us from achieving this. As a short term measure to ensure the club is able to continue to function, the council will be working with them to find temporary alternative accommodation within the park."

Neighbourhood inspector Simon Tabert said incidents of anti-social behaviour had declined significantly since the dispersal order was introduced and welcomed anything which would contribute to keeping the area safe for law-abiding members of the public.