Cinema stil being mooted as Hitchin Churchgate saga rumbles on

Churchgate was discussed at North Herts District Council's offices in Letchworth.

Churchgate was discussed at North Herts District Council's offices in Letchworth. - Credit: Archant

The Churchgate saga rumbles on with members of North Herts District Council voting to plough another £40,000 into a valuation of the site, as well as legal and commercial fees – but a cinema as part of the long-awaited facelift is still being mooted.

Councillor Richard Thake.

Councillor Richard Thake. - Credit: Archant

Councillor Richard Thake, who represents the Priory ward on the authority, said: “At one time Hitchin had three cinemas.

“If there is a commercial aspect which is a positive one, and if it gives the town of Hitchin a commercial edge in terms of leisure then it is a good thing – but if we were to have a cinema on the Churchgate site it would have to be done properly.

“As things stand the current site simply does not fit in with the surrounds of the town centre and is not fit for purpose.”

Councillor David Levett, also speaking at last week’s full meeting of the council, said: “An independent cinema in Churchgate would be good for the town.”

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Councillor Alan Millard added: “It’s a good idea. It would be nice to have a cinema in Hitchin again.”

Council leader Councillor Lynda Needham told members: “We are committed to redeveloping the Churchgate area of Hitchin as a mixed use site and welcome discussions on schemes from interested developers which includes a mix of uses, whether it be retail, residential or entertainment facilities.”

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A spokesman for Cineworld told the Comet: “We are continually reviewing locations across the UK for new cinemas. At present there is no confirmation of plans to open a Cineworld in Hitchin. Should the situation change the information will be distributed accordingly.”

But head of cinemas at the Independent Cinema office, David Sin, said: “Hitchin is sufficiently big enough to sustain a full-time independent cinema. There are quite a few examples of hugely successful full-time independent cinemas in towns of 35,000 or smaller.

“Most are successful because they are the only cinema on their respective towns, and are recognised as vital local amenities in the same way as a swimming baths or local library so there is an inclination for people to support their local cinema.”

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