Panel set up to 'learn lessons' from Hitchin Town Hall and North Hertfordshire Museum project

PUBLISHED: 07:02 23 May 2019

North Hertfordshire Museum and Hitchin Town Hall. Picture: Danny Loo

North Hertfordshire Museum and Hitchin Town Hall. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

A panel has been set up to look into "what lessons can be learned" from the Hitchin Town Hall and North Hertfordshire Museum project after it was plagued with delays.

Hitchin Town Hall opened to the public in 2016 - a year later than planned - with a deal signed over the sale of the front entrance to the adjoining district musuem in January 2019 after a two-year stand-off between Hitchin Town Hall Limited and North Herts District Council. The museum is still not fully open, but NHDC has said the entrance is expected to be in use "soon".

Now that the project is almost complete, a panel set up by NHDC's overview and scrutiny committee - made up of four elected NHDC councillors from the three political parties, with John Richardson, current director of the NHS Central Office for Research Ethics Committees, as its chair - will review what went on.

A spokeswoman from the council said the purpose of the panel is to: "Consider how the council worked with partners during the project and what lessons can be learned to improve future working relationships with partners."

Speaking about his appointment as the panel's chair, Mr Richardson added: "I am honoured to have been appointed to chair this important review, which I know will be of significant interest to many North Hertfordshire residents.

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"I hope that my many years of experience in chairing committees will be of benefit to the panel and will ensure the review is conducted in an impartial and productive manner.

"As a first step, we are interested in receiving initial statements from any individual or organisation that can provide the panel with useful evidence, specifically around how the council worked with partners during the project.

"I would like to reassure all concerned that this is just the initial stage and we will be carrying out a full review process in due course.

"The end result will be to identify any lessons that can be learned by the council, regarding future working relationships with its partners."

The panel will be taking initial written statements from interested parties and individuals, specifically on how the council worked with partners during the project.

Statements must be submitted by Friday, June 14, before the panel will review each statement and the evidence provided.

Details on how submit a statement and on the steps that follow, visit www.north-herts.gov.uk/hitchintownhallreview.

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