‘Milestone’ in Hitchin Town Hall redevelopment

A MAJOR milestone which will kickstart a multi-million pound project to upgrade a community facility and create a new district museum could be reached tomorrow (Monday).

Plans to revamp Hitchin Town Hall, while creating an adjacent North Herts Museum, have been in the pipeline for years, and councillors and project directors now look set to put the development agreement in place on Monday at a special full council meeting.

It means that work can then begin to find a building contractor.

Both North Herts District Council (NHDC) and Hitchin Town Hall Ltd have been working tirelessly to get everything put in place, and say that they are committed to the project.

David Leal-Bennett, a director at Hitchin Town Hall Ltd – and a district councillor – said that those concerned had been “working their socks off”.

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He added: “We are delighted that we are at the end, on the final straight.

“Let’s not forget that there’s a lot of hard work to do between now and next March, when we are looking to appoint the building contractor.

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“There’s a huge amount of work still to be done, but this is a major milestone. All sides are committed.”

The milestone follows months of negotiations between the two parties.

But, although an agreement looks almost certain to be reached, the district council failed to disclose what would happen if both parties do not come to an agreement by the target date.

John Robinson, NHDC’s strategic director of customer services, said: “We are working very closely with Hitchin Town Hall Ltd to ensure the development agreement is in place by October 15, and we are both committed to making that happen.

“A full report will be made available to council ahead of its meeting.”

As well as the plans for the district museum, to be created as a result of the closure of both Hitchin and Letchworth museums, there will be a main hall retained for community use, smaller meeting rooms, a caf� and a dedicated education and activity area.

Monday’s meeting will be open to the public, although parts will be heard in private.

It starts at 7.30pm at the council offices in Letchworth GC.

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