Hatfield play area doing better than expected, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 April 2013

Paul Widdicombe at the Fun Zone play area

Paul Widdicombe at the Fun Zone play area

Archant

A PUBLICLY-FUNDED children’s play area in Hatfield has had a bumper year, taking nearly £20,000 more than expected.

The FunZone, at the Birchwood Leisure Centre, has exceeded its expected income by £19,000 this year following a £50,000 refurbishment.

The play area, owned by Hatfield Town Council, has been hired out for more than 800 parties over the past 12 months – which is where it makes most of its money.

But new competition could be on the horizon, with a borough council- run soft play area proposed for Campus West in WGC.

Paul Widdicombe, deputy town clerk for Hatfield, is delighted with Birchwood’s success.

He said: “We are really pleased.”

Mr Widdicombe said he is not worried about the threat posed by the WGC facility, stating: “We are up for the challenge.”

But he continued: “We are always looking over our shoulders, if we have to move the goalposts we will.”

Figures shown to town councillors revealed FunZone made more than £17,000 in unexpected income.

But Mr Widdicombe claims that since the report was published the figure has increased to £19,000.

“If there is any unexpected refurbishments or repairs needed it will come out of that,” he added.

The soft play area is open for casual use during the week, between 10am and 4pm, but in the evenings and weekends it is hired out for parties.

Prices start from £100 and organisers also offer a self-catering option.

He said: “It is quite spacious so the kids can enjoy it, the parents can see but do not have to be to involved and there is an easy access car park.”

In December, Welwyn Hatfield Council announced a £1.2m revamp of Campus West in WGC is likely to include an indoor play area.

A spokeswoman told the WHT last week: “The council has appointed a company to manage the project.

“Detailed proposals are being drawn up over the next couple of months, including those for a soft play area.”


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