Hitchin must fight

PUBLISHED: 12:04 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 06 May 2010

May I refer to the lead article in last week s edition of The Comet regarding the possible development of a historic school site in Radcliffe Road, Hitchin. On March 14 this year BBC Radio 4 was scheduled to record The Long View at The British Schools. Ta

May I refer to the lead article in last week's edition of The Comet regarding the possible development of a historic school site in Radcliffe Road, Hitchin.

On March 14 this year BBC Radio 4 was scheduled to record The Long View at The British Schools. Taking part were Professors Roy Lowe and James Tooley, who hold the chairs of the faculties of education at London and Newcastle Universities respectively and Professor Gervase Phinn, the celebrated author who writes on school life in Yorkshire and is himself an educationalist.

Two days before the presenter, Johnathan Freedland, telephoned me to ask if there were other unique buildings besides the Schools in Hitchin that they might view. I replied "Yes, there is another magnificent cluster in Radcliffe Road because Antony Trollope's Barchester is alive and well and living in Hitchin. There you will find a stunning Tractarian Church (The Church of The Holy Saviour) with its almshouses, a complete orphanage and the entire frontage of the school". These famous men could not believe what they had seen and indeed they had never seen anything like this amazing set before.

What on earth is going on? Hitchin cannot part with some of the best of its heritage like this. Come on North Herts District Council planning department, if these buildings are not listed, then why not? Why cannot we have a temporary holding on them until they are? North Hertfordshire became very, very angry about the attempted development of The British Schools - let us not, I beg you, stir up a hornet's nest again.

While you think on this please spare a thought for beautiful Rose Cottage in Walsworth Road. One of the last of Hitchin's large Victorian houses, home to some of the most eminent men of Hitchin and now itself threatened with development. Is Hitchin to end up with this samey block of flats appearance at every turn? Our descendants are not going to thank us for this.

BRIAN LIMBRICK, The British Schools


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