Hitchin and Royston splash parks bone dry during scorching bank holiday weekend

In the dry dock: Two-year-old Catherine Asher next to the pirate ship in Hitchin's bone-dry Bancroft

In the dry dock: Two-year-old Catherine Asher next to the pirate ship in Hitchin's bone-dry Bancroft splash pool. Picture: Dalia Asher - Credit: Archant

“Operational issues” meant the splash parks in Hitchin and Royston failed to work amid the sweltering heat over the bank holiday weekend – but they are set to be fixed this week.

Ahead of the weekend, North Herts District Council announced that its water areas in Hitchin, Royston, Letchworth and Baldock would all be open from Saturday for bank holiday fun in the sun.

But in Hitchin and Royston, the splash parks stayed bone dry – much to the disappointment of many families.

District council deputy leader Councillor Julian Cunningham has apologised on behalf of the authority, and pledged that everything will be shipshape by Thursday evening.

“Engineers have been out to assess the situation as a matter of urgency,” he said.

“In Hitchin, the switches on the splash pad failed. Spares have been ordered and will be fitted on Thursday.

“In Royston, the equipment inside the water tank which controls the water levels is not functioning correctly. Engineers will also be rectifying this on Thursday.

Most Read

“We apologise for the disappointment this has caused. We are doing our very best to get the facilities back up and running as soon as possible and will keep everyone updated on our progress.”

This paper understands the district council was unable to get hold of the relevant contractors over the long weekend.

It is not the first time the £160,000 pirate ship-themed splash park in Hitchin’s Bancroft Recreation Ground has had problems. In July 2016, it broke down weeks after opening – just as a heatwave coincided with the start of the school holidays.

At that time the district council blamed “operational teething issues”.

Labour councillor Judi Billing, who represents the Hitchin Bearton ward containing the town’s splash park, has criticised the speed of the Conservative-run council’s response since Saturday.

She told this paper: “We know things go wrong. We know things break down, but Hitchin waited a long time for the splash pool and residents pay a lot of council tax.

“There has to be a better, quicker and more considerate way for the council to respond to issues like this rather than wait until the end of a long, sunny bank holiday weekend before they will even consider taking any action.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter