Hitchin registry office to close next week

HITCHIN registry office will permanently close next week, with all its services transferring to the Stevenage facility.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) decided in November last year to close the office at Centenary House on Grammar School Walk, to save money.

The facility, which is open two and a half days a week, sees staff from Stevenage sent over to the building, according to demand for appointments.

The decision was also based on the Hitchin office running at only two-thirds of its capacity, although there were proposals in 2008 to open the office full time to alleviate space issues at Stevenage.

It’s currently unclear what will happen to the Hitchin building.

“The registry service which is currently provided two and a half days a week at Centenary House in Hitchin will be transferred to Stevenage Registration Service from April 1,” said a county council spokesman.

“We have a policy in place which we use when a council property becomes vacant. We are currently considering a number of possibilities for the future use of the registry office.”

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Changes to registration services will also be affected county-wide, after a new centralised system based in Hatfield launched last week.

It means that rather than individual phone numbers for registration offices being used, everything will go through one number.

All birth, death and marriage registers have also been transported to the Hatfield Old Courthouse office.

The changes, along with the Hitchin office closure, are expected to save HCC more than �200,000 by 2012/13, 20 per cent of the county registration service budget.