Castle Park Project Back On Track

Artists impression of new community building
The Castle Park project has been given the go-ahead to tackle the challenges recently encountered with the skate park and the conversion of the decommissioned toilet block, which is due to be refurbished into a new studio.

The project is funded by a £2.5m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery Community Fund, together with contributions from East Herts and Bishop’s Stortford Town Councils. Works include better connectivity between Castle Park, Sworder’s Field and Castle Gardens, improved access to Waytemore Castle, a community garden and café and a major refurbishment of the Markwell pavilion including new Changing Places toilets.   

A new contractor will be on site at Sworder’s Field Skate Park in Bishop’s Stortford this month to continue work on its exciting transformation.  PFL Group, a family-run business with over 20 years of experience, is taking over from Freestyle Collective after it went into administration in September. 

The contract award follows a competitive procurement exercise that identified a £80k shortfall in the project budget due to rising costs and inflationary pressures. Bishop’s Stortford Town Council agreed to bridge this gap last week with an additional partnership contribution, allowing the skate park revamp to progress as swiftly as possible.

Work will start on the drainage and walkways this side of Christmas, followed by the construction of the skate park features in the new year. Final timeframes for completion will depend on weather over the winter months, but it is hoped the new facility can open to the public in spring 2023.

During work on the conversion of the decommissioned toilet block the contractor uncovered subsidence issues.  The town and district councils have agreed to work together to resolve these issues and ensure the enhancements can go ahead as planned.  A contractor has been identified to remediate the subsidence, using an innovative technique involving the injection of geopolymer, which fills the voids in the subsoil, thus stabilising it, in a process monitored by precision laser technology.  They will be onsite shortly, and once this process is completed, which takes only a few days and is minimally invasive, the build will recommence.

Executive Member for Wellbeing at East Herts Council, Councillor Eric Buckmaster, said: “I am very pleased that together with the town council, we have been able to overcome recent challenges with this exciting development. We are grateful to the town council for providing the vital funds needed to restart the skate park project swiftly, and with a new contractor on board, I am confident we will get this project over the line for residents to enjoy come spring.”

Town Mayor, Dave Anderson said: “This is a vitally important project for the Town and the Town Council is delighted that it can support it.  The extra funds come from the sale of the land on which the Avanti Meadows Primary School has been built, and it is pleasing to be able to re-cycle the proceeds from development to the benefit of the Townspeople as a whole.”

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