Hammersmatch releases new Churchgate plan ahead of meeting with council

The latest drawing, released exclusively to the Comet, shows a refurbished Churchgate centre

The latest drawing, released exclusively to the Comet, shows a refurbished Churchgate centre - Credit: Archant

HAMMERSMATCH has revealed its latest vision for Churchgate, ahead of a meeting with a council next week.

A closer look at the plans for the shopping centre

A closer look at the plans for the shopping centre - Credit: Archant

An artists impression, given exclusively to the Comet, reveals the Churchgate Centre owner’s plans for the Hitchin shopping precinct.

The drawing released to the Comet in February

The drawing released to the Comet in February - Credit: Archant

Changes have been made to a drawing released in February, with the latest plans showing a new canopy over the centre entrance, rendered walls, a feature window and new signage.

Churchgate shopping centre

Churchgate shopping centre - Credit: Archant

It comes ahead of a meeting next week, where Hammersmatch will meet with North Herts District Council (NHDC) officers.

On the latest drawing, Hammersmatch managing director David Payne said: “I would say I’m quite happy to present them to the people of Hitchin as an achievable design and in sympathy with the fabric of the town.


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“Providing we can come to terms with the extension of a ground lease and can satisfy a market location, we would hope to be open for trading in 2014.”

Hammersmatch, which is also still pursuing plans for a boutique cinema in the town, says it will continue to discuss plans with groups and the market.

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It also said it would welcome feedback from others.

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins praised the plans, and called on the district council to move ahead.

“I think it’s a positive move forward,” he said.

“I think at least it shows that the organisation are listening to people’s feedback and taking it seriously. The fact that he (Mr Payne) has engaged with people shows a commitment.

“There are some very positive meetings that have come out of it, and consultations with the market and local community groups. We would hope that the district council would seize the opportunity to engage with somebody who is obviously still interested.

“We have the opportunity, we just need to get on with it now.”

An NHDC spokesman confirmed senior officers were meeting with Hammersmatch next week.

He added: “Officers are continuing to look at all the options for the future of the Churchgate area in Hitchin and these will be presented in a report to full council at its meeting on June 27.”

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