BT Hitchin planning application blunder to be withdrawn

ON THE face of it, a planning application to install a phone cabinet in a town centre wouldn’t be much cause for concern.

But, on closer inspection, it emerged that the company in question, BT, applied to put the DSLAM cabinet directly outside a Hitchin building of historical interest.

The company submitted a planning application to North Herts District Council (NHDC) to install the cabinet in Hitchin Market Place. In diagrams submitted with its application, it said that it planned to locate it directly outside the cabbies hut.

After the Comet contacted the company to ask why it had chosen such a site, a spokesman said that the application would be withdrawn.

Town centre manager, Keith Hoskins, said: “I can’t believe that anybody could have been that blinkered, quite frankly. I wouldn’t see it getting planning consent for that position, particularly when there’s already one on the High Street.

“Somebody has been paid a fortune to have that planning application done.”

The cabbies hut was moved from Hitchin Railway Station in 1976 and relocated to the Market Place in 1998, after being restored and rebuilt by Hitchin Historical Society. It was built around 100 years ago, and was used by cab drivers to get some rest.

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BT said that, following a review, it would look elsewhere in the town for the cabinet to go.

A spokesman said: “We are pleased to say that we have no intention to stand a cabinet in this location. Whilst it was considered by our survey company as a possible site as part of a replan of the network in Hitchin, we have instructed them to withdraw the planning application as it is clearly unsuitable.

“We will work closely with interested parties to find a suitable alternative location which is more sympathetic to the area.”