Hitchin councillor hoping for splash park improvements after operational issues last summer

PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:00 06 March 2019

Hitchin Bearton councillor Judi Billing as provided an update on Bancroft's splash park. Picture: Archant

Hitchin Bearton councillor Judi Billing as provided an update on Bancroft's splash park. Picture: Archant

Archant

A Hitchin councillor has provided an update on Bancroft Splash Park after it was dogged with operational issues last year.

A Hitchin councillor has provided an update on Bancroft Splash Park after it was dogged with operational issues last year.

The £160,000 pirate ship-themed park frequently broke down over what was the hottest summer in the UK’s history, with Hitchin Bearton councillor Judi Billing receiving a number of complaints.

“Last summer Hitchin folks were really excited when our own splash pool was opened in Bancroft Park Hitchin,” she said.

“Sadly, delight turned into huge disappointment, as the beautiful, warm summer wore on, we received a constant stream of concerns and as people reported a wave of problems.

“The facility itself frequently broke down, not to be fixed for days and weeks on end, the paths around it started to melt into a sticky tar all over the children and just to add insult to injury the pebbly surface of the pathways clogged up the splash park and playground, and was incredibly painful for small children’s bare feet.

“Myself, Ian Albert and Val Bryant called for swift action and some explanations, asking the portfolio holder to discuss solutions with us and council officers well ahead of this summer.”

The three councillors visited the site in Bancroft Park and were told that it was “built on a shoestring”, but they remain hopeful improvements will be made.

“We were told that the Hitchin splash park was built on a shoestring, unlike others provided in other parts of North Herts, in less austere times,” said Ms Billing

“Nonetheless, we remain hopeful that some work could improve matters this summer.

“All the gravel is to be removed, so it can no longer have a painful effect on children’s feet with a firm surface underfoot, this should also stop gravel clogging up the works and play areas.

“One has to wonder if some false economies were made last year, if this work is needed already, but we try to be hopeful that the technical problems won’t come back to haunt us.

“With this in mind, we’d ask local people using the splash park to keep in touch with us and let us know if these changes have hit the spot, or whether we need to lobby the council for more radical, child-friendly solutions for our splash park.”

North Herts District Council’s executive member for the environment, councillor Michael Weeks said: “As part of ongoing work to prepare for the new season at Bancroft Splash Park we will be sweeping the paths around the splash pad area and removing any loose gravel that is found. This is part of our routine maintenance programme for the park.”

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