Decision day for Hitchin town hall

A DECISION on whether to go ahead with controversial plans to convert a town hall into a museum will be made tonight (Thursday). All 49 councillors on North Herts District Council (NHDC) will meet in the council chamber in Letchworth GC this evening, and

A DECISION on whether to go ahead with controversial plans to convert a town hall into a museum will be made tonight (Thursday).

All 49 councillors on North Herts District Council (NHDC) will meet in the council chamber in Letchworth GC this evening, and after considering evidence for and against the plan, decide whether to approve the �3.4m necessary to turn Hitchin Town Hall into a district museum.

The scheme, which would see the Victorian ballroom converted to hold the collections at the Letchworth and Hitchin museums, has caused a war of words between the Tory-controlled cabinet and those who use and love the building.

Opponents say the town will lose its largest social space, reducing community use, while the council argue the plans will save �160,000 a year and improve museum services in the district.


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A third option to defer the vote, which is likely to be proposed by opposition councillors, would allow more time for talks with town management partnership Hitchin Initiative, which is ready to put forward a plan to run the hall in trust for the town.

In an open letter to councillors this week, the Friends of Hitchin Town Hall, a collective of users and town action groups opposed to the conversion, called for a postponement. They wrote: "Hitchin needs to retain its town hall solely for community, business and charitable use. The full potential of the hall is only likely to be realised by a town hall community trust with effective management and publicity in partnership with NHDC who will be relieved of financial responsibility and gain from an extensive programme of leisure activity."

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For the full outcome of the vote go to www.thecomet24.co.uk on Friday.

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