THE completion of Hitchin Town Hall’s transition into a district museum could be delayed by nearly six months.

The project, which will see the building turned into a North Hertfordshire Museum as well as being retained for a community facility, was scheduled for completion in mid 2013.

But delays in securing a supervising architect, who would manage and co-ordinate the project to its successful completion, could add on an additional 160 days to that.

It means that it could take until the end of 2013 or even the beginning of 2014 before the �4.23m scheme is completed.

The details emerged after the project’s planning board met to consider the current issues surrounding the building.

According to plans, the supervising architect procurement was originally due to have been completed by the end of last month, leaving the rest of the summer to complete working drawings. Work was then scheduled to start in January 2012.

“Due to the size and scale of the Hitchin Town Hall and Community Facility project, we are legally obliged to advertise for a supervising architect in the Official Journal of the European Union to take the project forward to the next stage,” said Lynn Saville, North Herts District Council head of community and cultural services.

“We anticipate that this advertising process will extend the overall timescales of the project by about 160 days, but we will be looking at ways of minimising this.”

It’s expected that NHDC will be able to provide an update on where the project is at, at its Cabinet meeting in July.

Meanwhile, work has begun at both Hitchin and Letchworth museums in sorting, cleaning, photographing and packing many thousands of items in preparation for the move.

The project was given full planning permission in March by NHDC, and will be funded by money put aside by NHDC and a part-loan part-grant Community Builders Fund.