A new £1 million splash park has been given the green light to rejuvenate Gadebridge Park.
Years of campaigning by local residents for such a feature has paid off, as councillors approved the major scheme at a cabinet meeting held at The Forum on Tuesday evening.
The plans would also include removing the current play area at the park and building a new one next to the splash park, as well as refurbishing the White Bridge.
The splash park will be located next to the current bowls greens and could be set to open by spring next year.
Parents looking after their kids at the busy play area were supportive of the idea.
Mother-of-four Zoe Steeden said: “I think it’s definitely a good idea. We have to travel to St Albans or Watford to go to a splash park, so it would be nice to have one of our own.”
Calls for a splash park have dated back to 2004, when the park’s paddling pool was closed down due to health and safety reasons.
The new splash park would include a concrete surface which would be coloured to ‘complement’ the surrounding park and St Mary’s Church.
The water features would be ‘below ground’, which means that children could ride and skate on them when the facility would not be used a splash park.
A new building would need to be constructed to include a recirculation system, with plans for the building to also include new toilets and a kiosk.
And Dacorum Borough Council looks set to spend a lot of cash on the new feature, as it has budgeted £1 million for the splash park alone.
This would include the costs of building it, as well as the necessary landscaping and installing signage around the park.
There would also be a £100,000 contingency in case any problems are encountered during construction.
Maintaining the water park would cost approximately £50,000 per year, which would be spent on staffing, chemical and water testing, and maintenance.
The plans would also include £500,000 being spent on refurbishing the White Bridge, while the relocation of the play park could allow the expansion of the car park.
But Dacorum Borough Council believes it would be well worth the money, as it would provide ‘a safe and enjoyable place’ for families to visit.
Tara Taverner, a mother to two daughters, told the Gazette: “I remember going to the paddling pool when I was little, and it was a really nice thing to do as a family.
“It’s such a lovely park to put it in as well. I think it’s a great idea.”
Councillor Janice Marshall, portfolio holder for environmental sustainability and regulatory services said: “Gadebridge Park splash park will be an asset to Hemel Hempstead and the borough providing a safe, fun, free play area for families.
“As well as encouraging healthy exercise for young children it will bring more visitors to Gadebridge Park to use the other play facilities.
“The Splash Park will be sensitively designed with low level features to fit in with nearby St Mary’s Church and the walled garden.”