Council backs plan to save historic hall

A plan to save Hitchin’s biggest civic space has won the full support of the district council.

The �4.23m community scheme to preserve Hitchin Town Hall’s main hall while converting the rest of the building into a district museum was backed by North Herts District Council last night.

Councillors unanimously chose the plan over an earlier design which would have seen the main hall spit into two levels for museum space and agreed to commit the �3.5m capital funding set aside for that project to the new plan.

Keith Hoskins, manager of business support group Hitchin Initiative, which has driven forward the successful scheme with help from community groups and the council, said he was ecstatic at the news.

“There’s still a way to go yet and hurdles to negotiate but this is such a positive message from the local authority. Not only have they voted unanimously to go with the community plan but also reaffirmed that there’s �3.5m to do this.”

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The rest of the money needed for the scheme, which includes the purchase of a neighbouring building, is being applied for from the Government’s Community Builder’s Fund.

Mr Hoskins said the backing of the council makes the case for this funding much stronger and final moves to try to secure a part grant, part loan from this �24m pot can now be made before the November 30 deadline.

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He said he hoped to have a decision by the end of the year.

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