Report in the DRA Spring 2020 Newsletter:

We continue to explore possible improvements to the Playing Field and are in conversation with St John’s School re joint funding bids for projects such as:-

* 9-a-side all weather Football Pitch

*Trim Trail and hard surface running track.
However, there are complex legal and planning issues to resolve including whether a change of ownership
from Borough to Parish Council might improve the playing fields management. Better (The ground-works agency working for the Borough Council) will start to cut the grass soon to maintain the playing field, but they have still not given attention to the serious problem of widespread damage by rabbits and moles.

The Digswell Horticultural Society has agreed to plant primroses on the site this year and these have been placed along the Digswell Park Road and railway viaduct boundaries and also under the mature oak tree near the pond.

Pond / Riverside Walk Area –

The area has been the subject of a tree cutting process at the end of last year, which has cleared much of the pond
/ island area. Also, a larger tree in the area has fallen following the recent storms.

We were somewhat disheartened by the recent tree felling work carried out by Better on the south side of the pond. However, we have been advised by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust that the area will regenerate and may well

benefit from the increase in light, particularly along the river and pond margin. Representations have been made to Better regarding the felling, but no satisfactory reply has been received..
Following the last committee meeting an application was made to WHBC for a TPO to be considered on some of the mature trees on the site. However, this application request has been passed to Better and no further response has been received as yet. There are areas of improvement that will be required and we propose to arrange “volunteer work days” later in the year to carry out various tasks to promote the development of this area. If you would like to join us in this work please get in touch by contacting:

Alan Sparshott; alan.sparshott@gmail.com. Dick Stabler: dickstabler@talktalk.net

Report to the 2018 AGM:

DIGSWELL PLAYING FIELDS

The DRA has been working with Finesse Leisure, (now GLL / Better) for 10 years or so, to improve on the leisure facilities in the Children’s Play Area and the other areas for us in the community to enjoy.
We believe that the Children’s Play Area has now been completed to a standard that we envisaged in the original Vision Report.

However, the Playing Field still needs some improvement to the playing surface and possibly two new goal posts are proposed in the next year. The playing field and pond areas are a suitable location to sit and enjoy and to walk dogs - but some owners still need to be more responsible, for the sake of the children playing in the area… !

The Pond and Riverside Walk continues to improve through the work of Community Volunteers. Although more volunteers are needed to ensure this continues to develop and become a really good nature area. With a grant from the Digswell Horticultural Society, we planted about 100 wildflower plants around the pond and this is now starting to look like a Nature Reserve. The pond has encouraged more wildlife, with coots nesting and a family of swans visiting during the summer. We plan to plant more daffodils in the Playing Fields this autumn.

We have had regular meetings with the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and also with Better. Recent meetings with Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust have helped to set down a more focused schedule of works, to encourage further improvements and this has been supported by Better.

Although we have regular contact with the Better company, the Welwyn Parish Council is still interested to take over the maintenance of the site and are in continuing discussions with the Borough Council.

WE have plans to proceed with two Site Notice Boards and possibly some keep fit equipment.   We also plan to install further seating near the pond and on the field and we hope to submit a further grant application during the coming year.

We would like residents to be involved in discussions on how the site should be developed further…. If you have any helpful comments or suggestions or would like to volunteer, please contact –

Dick Stabler (dickstabler@talktalk.net) or Alan Sparshott ( alan.sparshott@gmail.com)          

2017 Report:

We work with the loacl Coucils to improve the Children's playgoroud and the playing fields.

Last year we reported that we had completed Phases 1 & 2 of our plan to improve the Playing Fields. Our plan for Phase 3 in 2017 included the following

Picnic benches / other seating

Information Boards re pond/riverside and, also, the history of the viaduct

Equipment to form a “Trim Trail” exercise area

Continued development of the Pond and Riverside Area, removing invasive vegetation and encouraging the regeneration of the area to support plant and wildlife

Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful with our submission to the Landfill Communities fund (Tarmac) and so were unable to proceed with all our plans. However other funding, notably Herts. CC (Richard Smith) WHBC and Welwyn Festival Fund allowed us to purchase a picnic table and a bench for the Children’s Playground, which means we have now completed our plans for the Playground.

With regard to the Pond and Riverside, we met recently with Herts Middlesex Wildlife Trust and have received advice on the future management of this area.

Digswell Horticultural Society have offered us £200 to help fund this work. However, we continue to need volunteers from the community to support this conservation project.

At our request Finesse have been carrying out work to improve the condition of the playing fields (most notably dealing with the on-going mole problem!). Finesse have recently installed a junior size football post. This is intended for casual ‘kick-about’ use. A further set will be installed to create a ‘mini’ pitch once the playing surface has improved

We are now reviewing our plans for a Trim Trail/ Outdoor Gym before submitting further funding bids.

If you have any comments, suggestions or like to volunteer, please contact –

Dick Stabler (dickstabler@talktalk.net) or Alan Sparshott (HERE).

 

22017 Playing Fields Vision Review can be downloaded from HERE

Digswell Playing Fields - 2016

Since 2012 the Digswell Residents Association have been working to improve the playing fields and children’s playground from their somewhat neglected state to create an attractive and viable community resource: In the past four years we have manage to secure over £45,000, (much of the funding has been from the Landfill Communities Fund i.e Tarmac) to fund the development of Digswell Playing Fields.

Working with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Finesse Leisure we have implemented the project in three phases -

Phase 1; Installed three new pieces of equipment to the playground (2014)

Phase 2; New footpath to provide safe access to the playground, riverside path created, pond-dredged and cleared of intrusive vegetation plus new net pyramid installed on playground (2015)

In March 2016 the DRA met with officers of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Finesse Leisure to discuss further development for Phase 3.

Phase3 will include;-  Picnic benches / other seating, Information Boards re pond/riverside and also the history of the viaduct.  Equipment to form a “Trim Trail” exercise area

Continued development of the Pond and Riverside Area, removing invasive vegetation and encouraging the regeneration of the area to support plant and wildlife. 

We have so far secured a further £2000 in donations and grants from WHBC, Welwyn Parish Plan Group and Welwyn Festival Committee. We are now in the process of submitting bids to secure further funding to complete this phase.

Much of the work in the Pond and Wildlife Area has been carried out by volunteers (including the local Brownie pack!) and we continue to seek more community volunteers to continue with this work.  

 

If you have any comments, suggestions or like to volunteer, please contact –

Dick Stabler or Alan Sparshott.           

The report to the annual meeting in November 2015 follows:

Children’s Playground Report

At last year’s AGM, we reported on the purchase and installation of new equipment for the Children’s Playground. A Climbing Tower, Roundabout and Spring Horse Ride were purchased with a substantial grant from Tarmac and also monies from local councillors’ community funds.

In January we submitted a further application to Tarmac, to secure funding, primarily to develop the Pond and Riverside, but also including bid for funding to establish an access path to the playground and to purchase a further item of play equipment

We sought estimates for the cost of an access path from WHBC, who determined that this would cost £10,000.

In May, having been successful in obtaining further funding of £21,000 from Tarmac, we requested WHBC review their estimate for the access path based on a revised specification. Subsequently the new path was created at a cost of £2247

In July, we carried out a review of costs already committed and decided that, if we deferred a number of minor items, it would be possible to purchase another item of play equipment

i.e. 4m Single Mast Activity Net, Total Net cost £12,455.05.

The Tennis Club kindly agreed to provide access to the pavilion for storage and welfare facilities, thus avoiding additional costs.

In September, we learnt via correspondence from WPC and WHBC that Digswell Brownies had made a presentation to WPC re the development of the Playing Fields (as part of a project on civics/local democracy). Alan Sparshott and Dick Stabler went to their pack meeting to explain DRA’s plans for the playground. We have invited them to take part in a “opening event” to provide photos/publicity for local press etc.

The Activity Net installation was completed on 4th November

Pond and Riverside Walk

  • Volunteers created a new Riverside Walk                  March 2015.
  • Volunteers tackled the Balsam Problem                    July 2015.
  • Pond has been cleaned out plus surrounds              Sept 2015.
  • Daffodil bulbs planted                                                  October 2015.
  • New tree saplings to be planted                                  Nov 2015

 

These improvements have been achieved with Grants from Tarmac and Affinity Water plus support from a small number of Community Volunteers.

The DRA is in continuing discussions with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Finesse Leisure and the Parish Council to press for further improvements to our local Playing Fields. A meeting with Paul Underwood WHBC has taken place in November, to review progress so far and to consider future work in the light of the decision not to proceed with discussion regarding the transfer of ownership of Digswell Playing Fields to Welwyn Parish Council.

NEXT YEAR

Session by the Wednesday Group of Volunteers in March 2016.

Further discussions to continue about the future development of the Playing Field..

Alan Sparshott, Dick Stabler

Digswell Playing Fields  April 2016
The Digswell Residents Association have been working to improve the playing fields and childrens playground from their somewhat neglected state to create an attractive andviable community resource: viz Phase 1; Installation of three new pieces of equipment to the play ground (2014)
Phase 2; New footpath to provide safe access to the playground, riverside path created,pond dredged and cleared of intrusive vegetation, net pyramid installed on playground (2015).During this phase, the Digswell Brownies became involved andmade a formal and, by all accounts, impressive presentation to Welwyn Parish Council urging the councillors to lend their support. The Brownies identified a number of items they wanted to be included, some of which were achieved by the end of the second phase. In recognition of their support theBrownies were invited to open the new equipment
Phase 3; In March 2016 the DRA met with officers of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Finesse Leisure to discuss Phase 3. We are in the process of seeking quote from suppliers prior to submitting our third funding bid (initially to Tarmac via Herts. Groundworks) Weshall also be seeking funding from other sources and the local community.
Phase 3 will include ;- Picnic benches / other seating, Information Boards re pond/riverside and also historyof the viaduct Equipment to form a Trim Trail exercise area.