John Barker Place

John Barker Place

We’re pleased to confirm that work has started on the development of the new homes and shops on the existing play area at the corner of John Barker Place and Mattocke Road.

The first two phases will include new homes for residents in Freemans Close and the nearby Westmill Lawns retirement complex, enabling them to continue living safely and comfortably in the area they’re familiar with.

Our new film marks the start of work on the development site. Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden; Councillor Martin Stears-Handscomb, Leader of North Hertfordshire District Council and Hitchin Oughton Ward Councillor; and local resident, Jude, talk about the benefits the development will bring to the Westmill community.

You can also see a detailed overview of how the new buildings will look externally and internally when completed.

Hunters Architects created the CGI fly-over included in this film

Proposed plans

We are currently consulting on proposed plans for the development of properties 2 to 136 John Barker Place (opposite the new development) and 53 to 75 Westmill Road (odd numbers only). Proposed plans also include the redevelopment of the site of the Westmill Lawns retirement living scheme. This is the third consultation we have had on proposed plans for the new development.

You can take a look at the images and detail of the proposed plans (PDF) here.

Some of the key changes that we have made to the designs in line with resident feedback includes the positioning of open space and adjustment to some of the heights of the buildings. You can view these proposed plans and leave any comments you wish to make at until 31 July 2022, when the consultation will close.

Investing in homes

At settle, our first priority is to provide homes that are safe and comfortable for our residents to live in.  We’re committed to investing in the neighbourhoods in which we work to ensure they are good places to live in, where residents can feel proud of where they live, and we help improve the life outcomes for those living there.

We have been in contact with the residents of these properties and outlined the three main areas driving the need for investment to:

  • Ensure that we continue meeting the Decent Homes standard
  • Provide energy-efficient homes that meet government targets for net-zero carbon
  • Invest in communal spaces to deliver improvements that we have identified are needed to the shared areas in and around these buildings.

With the amount of work involved, the disruption it would bring, and the level of financial investment required which would result in properties that still have limitations, for example still lacking lifts – settle are proposing the best option for residents is to provide new homes on the same site and to carry out a phased building programme similar to the new homes and shops on John Barker Place.

If you have any questions or would like to make suggestions regarding the redevelopment, please send us an email and a member of our team will respond or call us on 0330 343 0016.

Previous proposed plans

If you would like to look back at how plans have evolved, you can view previous proposed plans that we consulted with residents on here.

Timeline of events

In January 2021, we started working on the development of the new homes and shops at John Barker Place with our contractor, Jarvis. We’ve certainly come a long way since then.

We’re delighted that the new homes at Kingfisher House, Phase 1 of the John Barker Place Redevelopment are complete. Residents from Westmill Lawns are now moving across to their new homes. Work on Phase 2, where the pre-existing shops and flats were has began and is expected to be completed by autumn 2023.

Plan showing the preparation phase plan on john barker place, showing existing shops and contractor area


Overall development phasing

Phase 1 will see us provide new homes and shops on the site of the old play area at John Barker Place and we expect this to be completed by summer 2022. The second phase (Phase 2A) will see new homes provided in the current block of flats and shops beside the play area and we expect these to be available by autumn 2023.

We have also received outline planning permission for additional new homes in a third phase of the development and we will be able to share more information around proposals for these homes later in 2021. Here’s a summary of the phasing:

Job opportunities

Working with Jarvis we will provide great employment, apprenticeship and work placement opportunities for local residents throughout the development of John Barker Place.  We will also provide details of roles Jarvis and their suppliers are recruiting to.

Jarvis are currently looking to recruit a labourer to work on the development site, with the opportunity to receive the appropriate training to become a traffic marshal.

Apply now

We can support settle residents who may need help to put together CVs and prepare for job interviews – please let us know if we might be able to help you in this way by sending an email to You can also use this email address to let us know if you’d like us to keep you updated on potential future roles. Just send us an email explaining the type of roles you would be interested in and your experience to

Swinburne playground

We received planning permission for the new homes and shops at John Barker Place in January 2020, with the commitment that we would provide the new plea area on the edge of Swinburne playing fields before starting building work.

We were delighted to open the new playground in summer 2020.

A slide and climbing apparatuses at the Swinburne playground A game board of Tic Tac Toe at the Swinburne playground A slide and climbing apparatuses with a swing set in the background at the Swinburne playground A wide-shot angle of Swinburne playground

The play equipment at Swinburne playground is checked daily to ensure the safety of all who use it.


If you spot something wrong with any of the park equipment please let us know by emailing or calling us.

Helicopter swing

The helicopter rotator swing has been removed due to a problem with the bolts. It’s been made safe and we’re currently waiting for a repair date from the manufacturer.

Please note that due to the pandemic, replacements from the manufacturer in Germany are taking longer than expected to arrive. We’re contacting the company regularly for delivery updates.

Stay in touch

A team of colleagues from settle will be focussed on the delivery of this project, working alongside our partners at Jarvis Contracting Ltd. We will work closely with residents and the wider Westmill community as the delivery of the new homes and facilities progress.

The team from settle includes:

  • Shenaz Virji, head of development delivery
  • Tim Porter, head of regeneration
  • Anne Bircham, regeneration officer

The team from Jarvis Contracting includes:

  • Nathan Herbert, contracts manager
  • Chris Creighton, senior site manager

We will provide regular updates as the development work at John Barker Place continues. If you’d like to get involved and share your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

  • We will provide regular updates on these web pages
  • You can contact Anne or Tim through the dedicated email address we have set up for this project. Please send any questions or feedback to Anne or Tim at
  • You can also call us on 0330 343 0016 if you want to talk through anything – ask for Tim or Anne

Keep me informed

If you’d like to receive regular updates on our work at John Barker Place, please provide your details below.

Building more homes

Current Developments

Communal areas and facilities