‘Farcical’ closure of newly opened £160k Hitchin splash park leaves hard-pressed parents frustrated and children disappointed – as council blasted for being ‘incompetent junta’

Bancroft Splash Park

Bancroft Splash Park - Credit: Archant

Families hoping to make use of the newly opened Hitchin splash park as hot weather coincided with the start of the school summer holidays were left frustrated when they found it closed at the weekend.

Bancroft Splash Park

Bancroft Splash Park - Credit: Archant

The £160,000 water-feature opened at Bancroft Recreation Ground last month after nine months of building work but has had to be shut fewer than four weeks later – just as temperatures have begun to soar.

North Herts District Council, which oversees the splash park, confirmed there were some operational teething issues with the site including low water pressure, but informed the Comet the main contractor has now gone into administration – meaning the council is unable to put a timeframe on when the facility will be open again.

A frustrated parent, who lives nearby but asked to remain anonymous, said: “It’s simply farcical.

“For the council to spend nine months and £160,000 on building the splash park only for it to closed a matter of weeks after it opens shows incompetence of the highest level.

“What on earth are North Herts councillors doing? First they have the shambles over at Hitchin Town Hall – along with wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers money – and the still unopened district museum.

“Then they spend a fortune building a new community centre at Westmill which is still months late in opening to the public.

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“If that’s not enough, they then fork out nearly £10 million on buying out and refitting their new offices – including voting through an extra £2.5m on the project behind closed doors last month.

“And now they can’t even get a child’s splash park to work.

“They are a laughably incompetent junta unaccountable to anybody – certainly not to the humble taxpayers of North Herts.

“And the worst thing is they’ve let down so many children at the start of their summer holidays – not to mention hard-pressed parents.

“I know a few people who can’t wait for next year’s local elections so we can vote half of them out.”

Councillor Jane Gray, responsible for leisure explained: “Regretfully, at the weekend we started experiencing some operational teething issues with Hitchin splash park and as a result we have had to close it temporarily.

“As the council recently received notification of the liquidation of the splash park’s main contractor, we’re now in the process of appointing a sub-contractor to investigate the issues and carry out any necessary repairs.

“We remain committed to keeping the splash park open during the summer months and we are working hard to rectify the issues urgently so we can continue to provide a fully functioning splash park as soon as possible. We will keep everyone updated on our progress.”

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