Anger over double booking at Hitchin Town Hall

A WOMAN has blasted a council for depriving sick children of thousands of pounds after staff double booked a town hall paid for to host a fundraising event. Sue Robinson, who booked Hitchin Town Hall in July to host a charity ball for children with muscu

A WOMAN has blasted a council for depriving sick children of thousands of pounds after staff double booked a town hall paid for to host a fundraising event.

Sue Robinson, who booked Hitchin Town Hall in July to host a charity ball for children with muscular dystrophy next Friday, is fuming after North Herts District Council told her it could not go ahead as another group had already booked the space.

She said: "I am shocked and outraged at the incompetence. Not only did they make a huge error in double booking the venue but they have been unwilling to make any form of contribution to the charity. They have offered to pay the cost of printing the posters and that is it. I am horrified at having to return money from ticket sales which would have made a real difference to the quality of life for these children."

The hall, which is at the centre of controversial council plans for a district museum, has been called "underused" by councillors.

Ms Robinson, who lives in Stevenage, said that despite the set back, turning the ballroom into a museum would be a real loss to the community.

"The hall is used most evenings for community events and there isn't a local venue able to support these groups if the ballroom closes. With better organisation the hall would make more money," she said.

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The council said that other alternatives were sought after the mistake was discovered at the end of last month, including alternative dates and using the Spirella building in Letchworth GC. But Ms Robinson said the options were not suitable.

"We are very sorry for the mistake that led to this event being double booked," Lynn Saville, head of community and cultural services at the council, said. "However we have since made every attempt to address the situation and provide alternatives.

"It is a pity that the organisers did not feel able to work along with us to find an acceptable alternative in good time, as we would have loved to see this event rescheduled not cancelled.