Future of Hitchin park up for discussion

Plans for Bancroft Park, Hitchin

Plans for Bancroft Park, Hitchin - Credit: Archant

THE future of a park earmarked for redevelopment is up for discussion.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) wants to make changes to Bancroft Park in Hitchin, and is asking members of the public to share their views on proposed improvements.

The proposals, outlined in a masterplan, include altering pedestrian access, new seating, electricity supply in the bandstand, a play area for older children and a cafe.

The consultation, being run by Groundwork Hertfordshire, will gather views of visitors to the park during busy periods. There will also be an exhibition at the park over the next few weeks.

People will be asked how often they use the site, what they use it for, and what features and facilities they’d like to see.

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Cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC’s portfolio holder for leisure, said: “Bancroft Gardens is an important part of Hitchin’s town centre and its heritage. It plays a vital role in the community which is why we are asking local people to get involved in the redevelopment.

“We’re grateful to Groundwork Hertfordshire for helping us with the consultation and we look forward to hearing people’s views.”

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Although they welcome investment at the park, current plans have proved controversial with some residents and town groups.

Bancroft Hall, used by groups such as Hitchin Bridge Club and U3A, will be demolished and there are no proposals for a new facility.

Hitchin Forum chairman Mike Clarke said: “Hitchin Forum had discussions with a council officer last week about what are now described as initial proposals. The term masterplan which the council has used seems to us to be misleading, if there really is room for significant change on the plan.

“We have feared that the bowls club, the non-club tennis players, and the hall users could all be displaced. We are very keen that there are improvements in the play area, including water play, and convenient year round toilets. We think that an extension to the bowls pavilion should be seriously considered.

“We hope that there will be a full and open-minded consultation with the whole community.

“Hitchin is very keen that Bancroft recreation ground is improved but also that the community is fully consulted and involved in the planning.”

To comment on proposals, visit www.north-herts.gov.uk and search for ‘Bancroft Gardens redevelopment’, or visit the exhibition over the coming weeks.

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