A new look White Lion Square was officially opened by Councillor Roger Trigg, Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, on Wednesday 4 September, following a £1.2m transformation funded by Hertfordshire LEP.
The square, situated in Hatfield town centre, has been refreshed with upgraded paving, landscaping and exciting new public amenities including table tennis facilities, children’s play equipment, seating areas and cycle parking. The work was funded by a £1.2m Local Growth Fund investment from the LEP to improve the town centre environment and boost footfall to local shops and businesses.
The revamp marks the completion of the first stage of the council’s wider town centre regeneration programme, following major refurbishment of shops, flats and offices around the square.
The High Sherriff of Hertfordshire, Lord Salisbury, councillors, council officers and Hertfordshire LEP representatives joined the Mayor for the opening, which also featured the unveiling of the historic Pearl statue, carved by sculptor James Butler MBE RA when White Lion Square first opened in 1970.
The 50-year-old statue was commissioned by Maxwell Fry, the architect who designed much of Hatfield town centre. Thanks to the efforts of local resident Mark Lampert, Pearl has been returned to White Lion Square for the first time since 1986, taking pride of place at the top of the square in front of Peacocks.
Local children from St Philip Howard school buried two time capsules in planters around the square, ready for a grand unearthing in over a decade’s time.
Minister of State for Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and levelling up our regions. Thanks to £1.2m of investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, Hatfield now has an exciting and greatly enhanced White Lion Square. This marks an important step in the regeneration of Hatfield town centre, boosting footfall for shops, supporting local businesses and growing the local economy.”
Councillor Duncan Bell, Executive Member for Resources, said: “I am delighted that this phase of Hatfield town centre’s regeneration is complete. White Lion Square is now an inviting community space that will drive footfall to local shops and businesses, and encourage people to spend longer in the town. The refurbishment is part of our wider town centre plans to deliver new homes, shops and attractive spaces to secure Hatfield’s future prosperity to 2030 and beyond.”
Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair, Hertfordshire LEP, said: “We are delighted to see White Lion Square transformed with a vibrant new look and upgraded public amenities to help boost footfall into the town centre. This is an exciting first step in the wider regeneration of Hatfield, supported by a total £6m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire LEP, which is set to benefit residents and local businesses for years to come.”