John Barker Place

John Barker Place

We’re pleased to confirm that the new homes at Kingfisher House, the first building of the redevelopment at John Barker Place in the Westmill neighbourhood, Hitchin, is now complete.

With support from North Herts Council and Homes England, settle began work in partnership with Jarvis Construction on the first phase of the two-phase redevelopment in January 2021.

The five-storey housing block is now home to 37 residents from the nearby retirement living flats at Westmill Lawns. The building also includes the local convenience shop and a takeaway unit on the ground floor.

Picture of Kingfisher House, John Barker Place, Hitchin
Resident Nadine cuts the ribbon at Kingfisher House in John Barker Place
Representatives from settle were joined by local councillors, including the Leader of North Herts Council, Cllr. Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Cllr. Ian Albert and Cllr. Nigel Mason, along with the Chair of the Resident Steering Group, Nadine and Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation to mark progress at the development

In January 2021, we put together a short film to mark the start of work on the development. Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden; Martin Stears-Handscomb, Former Leader of North Hertfordshire District Council, and local resident, Jude talk about the benefits the development will bring to the Westmill community.

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

Timeline of events

  • Phase 1 – Kingfisher House.
  • Phase 2A & 2B – the new building that is being developed, replacing the current row of shops and flats on John Barker Place will have two entrances. The building on the left side will be called Oughton Court and the block with the entrance on the right is to be named Cornmill House.
  • Phase 2C – the new building that will sit behind Phase 2A will also have two entrances, the building on the left will be named Reed House and properties on the right – Willow Court. The road between Kingfisher House and Oughton Court and behind Reed House and Willow Court will be named Kingfisher View.See plan below for more details.

Phase 1 & 2 of John Barker Place Development




Proposed plans for continued investment in Westmill

Phase 3 – New homes on site of Freemans Close

Outline planning permission was granted in 2020 for a third phase of development at John Barker Place to provide 49 new affordable homes on the site of Freemans Close. We recently held a final design exhibition (June 2022) giving residents an opportunity to share their views before a reserved matters application is made to North Herts Council.

Subject to approval, work will begin on site in 2023, once Phase 2 is complete. The proposed properties will provide a mixture of social rent and shared ownership homes which we expect to be completed in 2025.

John Barker Place and Westmill Road

We also consulted 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.

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.

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

We carry out weekly, monthly and annual safety and maintenance inspections on the playground to check play equipment.

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


Previous project updates

June 2023: Update on regeneration letter

March 2023: John Barker Place redevelopment update – March 2023

March 2023: Jarvis Contracting – Contractor on John Barker Place in administration

December 2022: Newsletter 7 –  John Barker Place Redevelopment newsletter_Issue7_

July 2022: Newsletter 6 –  John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 6

February 2022: Newsletter 5 –  John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 5 (PDF)

September 2021: Newsletter 4 –  John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 4 (PDF)

July 2021:  Newsletter 3 –  John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 3 (PDF)

March 2021: Newsletter 2 –  John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 2 (PDF)

January 2021: Construction work begins on £20m John Barker Place redevelopment

December 2020: Newsletter 1 – Work to begin on John Barker Place redevelopment newsletter issue 1 (PDF)

July 2020: New children’s play area opened at Swinburne playing fields in Hitchin

May 2020 Play area work to begin on Swinburne playing fields

February 2020 20m redevelopment of Hitchins John Barker Place to go ahead

November 2019 Planning application for play area to be reviewed

October 2019 Update following public meeting on 21 October

October 2019 Invitation to public meeting on Monday 21 October

August 2019 Children’s play area proposed for Swinburne playing fields

August 2019 Have your say on the John Barker Place redevelopment

June 2019 Redevelopment of Hitchin’s Westmill estate moves step forward

April 2019 Our redevelopment plans for John Barker Place, Hitchin

April 2019 Redevelopment of John Barker Place, Hitchin

Questions and answers

John Barker Place Q&A [PDF] 

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, Production Manager
  • Chris Creighton, Project 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