Time for your say on the future of Hitchin’s Churchgate regeneration

The future of Churchgate Shopping Centre will be discussed at NHDC's public forum in March. Picture:

The future of Churchgate Shopping Centre will be discussed at NHDC's public forum in March. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The regeneration of Churchgate is set to be a hot topic at a public consultation on the future of Hitchin town centre, with the community urged to share their views.

Led by North Herts District Council, members of the public will be able to share their thoughts during morning drop-in sessions in Market Place on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7.

Here, councillors will be available to talk about the future of Churchgate and what you would like to see there, as well as discussing the market and transport in the town centre.

Councillor Ian Albert, NHDC's executive member for finance and one of the main orchestrators behind the push for this regeneration project, insists that now is the time for the revival of Churchgate.

He said: "The Labour and Liberal Democrat joint administration of North Herts District Council has the key priority of developing town centre strategies across the district once the Local Plan is adopted.

"We already have a policy to purchase the leasehold of Churchgate on behalf of the community, subject to further consideration of the economic case for doing so and we continue to pursue this."

Discussions are set to be held which could see the Churchgate regeneration becoming part of NHDC's central plan - echoing the action taken over John Barker Place, which was listed as a key objective in NHDC's latest 2020-2025 plan.

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Councillor Albert added: "We are holding a series of events to reach out to residents, businesses, schools and colleges to get feedback on how Hitchin should develop to reflect future needs, while maintaining it as an attractive and unique place to visit.

Tom Hardy, Hitchin town centre manager, added: "It is important to understand what the people and businesses of Hitchin would like to see in the way of improvements to this building.

"There are some fantastic businesses in Churchgate and ensuring their survival through this process is of the upmost importance.

"Equally as important is the protection and investment needed for Hitchin Market which is within the Churchgate site.

"With over 1,000 years of history, it's what make Hitchin a market town and must be at the forefront of the council's mind when moving forward."