THE new-look St Benedict s Court was officially opened in Huntingdon town centre last week and one vital question has already been raised: how long will it last? The improvements, which cost £450,000, involved replacing the previous paving with buff-colou

Sue Morgan from Sawtry and Morag Campling of Alconbury Weston

THE new-look St Benedict's Court was officially opened in Huntingdon town centre last week and one vital question has already been raised: how long will it last?

The improvements, which cost £450,000, involved replacing the previous paving with buff-coloured slabs and the installation of new seating and a water feature.

The work was carried out as part of a £1million-plus scheme to improve Huntingdon town centre funded by Huntingdonshire District Council with the support of a £19,500 grant from Action for Market Towns towards sculpture, lighting and paving. A crowd of shoppers gathered on Wednesday as John Davies, vice chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council, gave a short speech at the opening.

He said: "I am delighted to be here to mark this important occasion. Talking to people around the area it seems the improvements have been very well received.

Mr and Mrs Birch of Stukeley Meadows

"Hopefully the area will remain as nice as it looks now and Huntingdonshire District Council will do its best to maintain and keep it in the best condition possible."

The former Mayor of St Ives joked: "Many of you may know St Benedict's Church originally stood on this square until Oliver Cromwell demolished it in 1645. Perhaps that's why you (the people of Huntingdon) gave St Ives his statue!"

Street entertainers and jazz musicians were also on hand to entertain the crowds.

Paul Milward, project engineer at the district council, said: "St Benedict's Court is the culmination of not only three months' construction work but two years of planning and discussions with interested groups.

"Everyone involved has worked well together to help produce this exciting project."

A day later, The Hunts Post returned to the site to gauge public opinion.

Nadia Horton and Phil Pedder-Smith, of Ramsey, said: "It's nice but to be honest you have to wonder how long it will last.

"New features like these often attract kids intent on troublemaking."

Joe Broder, of Huntingdon, was more impressed. He said: "It looks very nice at the moment and it's up to the people who use it to keep it that way."

Mr and Mrs Birch, of Stukeley Meadows, said: "It's nice, so much nicer than it was before. Hopefully it will stay like it is now."

Sue Morgan, of Sawtry, and Morag Campling, of Alconbury Weston, said: "It's an improvement but it will still probably end up full of litter.