Support rallied for Hitchin Town Hall

IT has come a long way over the past year and with the announcement that a Community Builders’ Fund has been granted to the project, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the future of Hitchin Town Hall.

But support is still needed to ensure its success, and The Comet is getting behind the campaign.

The building is due to become home to a North Herts Museum, with a space also reserved for weddings, festivals and community events.

The project is being funded by an �850,000 fund from the Community Builder’s Foundation and �3.5m funding from North Herts District Council (NHDC), with The Comet also granting �1,200 to the cause.

Works are now being carried out to ensure conditions are met to comply with the Builders’ Fund criteria.

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“We are progressing, but we have to satisfy the conditions of the Community Builders funding by March 31,” said town centre manager Keith Hoskins.

“Everyone is working really hard to sort everything out in time. The finishing line is in site I believe.

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“We are really pleased to have the support of The Comet, they have been supportive from day one.

“But we need continued support. We’re going to have to get the community behind us.

“Sixty per cent of the Community Builders’ Fund is a loan, and we’ll need to launch an appeal to help us pay that back.

“The money is stretched out over a long period of time and will come out from the use of the property, so a proportion of that would go back into paying the fund.

“But a community appeal will give us a great chance of using money that we gain from income at the hall to put back into the facility.”

The �3.5m has already been put aside by the council, as part of its capital programme.

Another milestone will be faced next week, when a planning control committee will make a decision on the planning application which was submitted at the end of January.

A spokesman from the council said: “A planning application for the Hitchin Town Hall scheme was submitted on January 28 and will be considered by the planning control committee.

“Legal teams are continuing to work on a development agreement which details lease and management arrangements and this is expected to be completed soon.”

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