Work to begin on new Hitchin play area as John Barker Place regeneration takes first steps

Work to build a new play area near Swinburne Playing Fields will begin next month. Picture: Settle

Work to build a new play area near Swinburne Playing Fields will begin next month. Picture: Settle - Credit: Archant

Work to construct a new play area in Hitchin is set to begin this month, the first step in housing association settle’s £20 million John Barker Place redevelopment plans.

The new play area, which will be wheelchair accessible and boast modern facilities, will be on the edge of Swinburne Avenue’s playing fields, with work beginning on June, 15.

The site’s contractor, Playground Facilities, will follow the latest government guidance at all times while they build the play area, which should take around six weeks to complete.

Planning permission for the 83 homes, new shops and play area was granted by North Hertfordshire District Council in January this year, with one of the conditions being that the new play area must be completed before building work begins on the shops and homes.

North Hertfordshire District Council has provided almost £1.1 million towards the regeneration project, and Cllr Gary Grindal commented: “It is wonderful news that work is to begin on building the play area at Swinbourne Playing Fields. This is a great example of how settle, NHDC and the community have worked together to improve life for local people.

“This project links into NHDC’s priorities to support the development of good quality affordable homes, which includes supporting the development at John Barker Place in the Westmill area of Hitchin, one of our districts most deprived areas.”

Previously, this proposed play area at Swinburne Avenue was criticised by some residents over concerns that the location was out of sight for parents to keep an eye on their children.

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A decision on granting planning permission for the play area was denied in November, after NHDC’s planning committee addressed a potential “safeguarding risk” at the site.

READ MORE: Decision on proposed Hitchin play area delayed due to safety concerns