Hitchin's Churchgate shopping centre sold to council

Churchgate shopping

L to R: Cllr Ian Albert, Cllr Judi Billing, Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Steve Crowley, North Herts Council Service Director, Cllr Keith Hoskins - Credit: North Herts Council

North Herts Council has completed a deal to acquire the Churchgate shopping centre in Hitchin.

The council believes it can best control the future use of the site by taking ownership,  and will launch a consultation to engage with residents and businesses and listen to their views on how to improve the area.

The decision to acquire ownership of the centre was approved at full council in March.

Council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg said: “We’re delighted that North Herts Council now owns the leasehold of the Churchgate Shopping Centre.

"Combined with our existing freehold ownership of the centre and adjacent site,s including Hitchin Market and the car parks, we now have the best opportunity we’ve ever had to make improvements to this part of Hitchin.

“We are now in a position to bring forward deliverable regeneration proposals in consultation with local people. I look forward to working with our community to determine what a suitable proposal for Churchgate will look like, and getting it delivered.”

Cllr Keith Hoskins, executive member for enterprise and arts, said: “I have been involved in the Churchgate project since its infancy and am thrilled we now have a new opportunity to move it forward.

"The project fits into the council’s plan to boost the local economy in our town centres and support the vibrancy and sustainability of our fantastic town. An improved Churchgate centre will be a big benefit to the community of Hitchin.”

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The council will carry out early and ongoing engagement with the public and other stakeholders to ensure all opinions are fully considered and inform any regeneration proposals for the future of the area.

However, the immediate priority will be to work with existing tenants and proactively fill any empty units to drive customers into the centre.