Long wait for Welwyn Garden City splash park continues

PUBLISHED: 09:02 12 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:02 12 May 2018

Former Splashlands site

Former Splashlands site

Archant

More than a decade on since plans were first revealed for the former Splashlands site in Welwyn Garden City, and the borough council has confirmed another summer is set to come and go with no splash park.

Proposals to redevelop the Stanborough Park site were reported on in this newspaper back in September 2007.

Then in April 2009, Welwyn Hatfield Council was forced to admit its ambition to have one of the biggest waterparks in the country was unaffordable and over budget at a cost of more than £4million.

By September that year, the council had unveiled fresh plans for “a wet play area with sunken barge, water pumps and a sun terrace”.

The highlight of this new waterpark was going to be a giant waterslide, which the council had hoped to have open by 2012.

The plans also included the High Ropes course, which closed in June 2013 after a preview event in which a woman fell from the course.

Asked why residents were still waiting for a splash park, former leader of the council John Dean blamed the time it had taken for the High Ropes court case to take place.

Mr Dean told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “There are plans and they’re confidential.

“It’s taking a long time to negotiate.

“We will have certainly begun by next summer, but whether it will be completed or not I don’t know.

“It’s been quite an ongoing process and it was held up by the nasty accident at High Ropes.

“It took several years to come to court.

“I look forward to seeing something in place.

“It’s been a long ambition of mine and I had hoped to see it in place before I stepped down.”

In September last year, Bailey Nash, who was 12 at the time, started a petition to bring a splash park to Welwyn Garden City.

The online petition entitled ‘Give WGC a Splash Park’ attracted nearly 1,500 signatures.

A council spokeswoman said: “The Cross Party Project Board met on April 25 to look at proposals to bring leisure development opportunities into Stanborough Park North.

“Due to the confidential nature of the proposals, and the commercially sensitive data associated with it, we are not able to disclose any of the details at this stage.

“However, Members of the Project Board, along with the leaders of the three political parties, have been kept informed of the progress made so far.”

The spokeswoman was asked whether a splash park would be in place by this summer, to which she responded: “No, however we remain fully committed to delivering a sustainable development proposal on the site.”

She added: “We will release further detail as soon as we can.”

Splashlands was originally closed in 1999 due to land stabilisation issues.

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