Planning town’s future
Judi Billing, Chair of Hitchin Committee is quoted in The Comet of December 28 as saying Churchgate, in its present form, becomes an increasingly scruffy ugly relic. It is, for a start, a very recent relic, only built in the 1970s and is only scruffy due
Judi Billing, Chair of Hitchin Committee is quoted in The Comet of December 28 as saying Churchgate, in its present form, becomes an increasingly scruffy ugly relic. It is, for a start, a very recent relic, only built in the 1970s and is only scruffy due to the failure of landlords to maintain it with proper investment. Zapatos, the stylish shoe shop in the centre, is to close and according to their notice due to a substantial rent increase together with uncertainties about the future of Churchgate. If Judi Billing is correct, then surely rents should be reduced, not increased!
Ugly is in the eye of the beholder and a facelift is long overdue, as indeed is the case for carrying out similar work by North Herts District Council with new market stalls and environmental improvements to the town centre car parks.
Why the delay in carrying out the destruction of Churchgate and probably losing many of the existing valuable independent retailers in the process? The answer seems obvious, any developer, including Hammersmatch, must consider the designated redevelopment area too small to be financially viable in the 21st century.
Town Hall plans stalled again and the town suffers as redevelopment plans are put on hold.
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BRIAN J FOREMAN, Little Acre, Broadmead, Hitchin
* Your front page article of 14 December on the proposed development of the Brookers site in Hitchin was accompanied by an illustration of the original planning application submitted to the council by the developers.
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This was misleading as we would have recommended that Hitchin councillors should refuse that plan on the grounds of unacceptable layout and design. In the event, the developers withdrew the application before it was put to the Hitchin Committee.
As you will see from the accompanying artist's impression (shown above), which shows the proposed view of the revised application along Paynes Park, the latest plans, which were approved by councillors on 12 December, are very different from the original and far more acceptable in terms of design and scale.
David Scholes, Head of Planning and Building Control