Town hall plans stalled again

A DECISION on the future of a town hall has been pushed back by at least a further six months. A report about Hitchin Town Hall, in Brand Street, was expected to be presented before Christmas at a meeting of North Hertfordshire District Council s Hitchin

A DECISION on the future of a town hall has been pushed back by at least a further six months.

A report about Hitchin Town Hall, in Brand Street, was expected to be presented before Christmas at a meeting of North Hertfordshire District Council's Hitchin area committee.

However, the council withdrew the report at the last minute and it is now not expected until at least summer 2007.

The council has released a statement saying it was because there had been "no change in the position from last March 28 when Cabinet approved a multi stranded approach to future development of the town hall".


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In other words the council wanted to investigate possible uses for the hall and whether to develop alternative uses.

The statement said: "The market testing for both a continuation of existing use and also for a change of use will soon commence.

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"It is anticipated that this will take a minimum of six months to complete, allowing sufficient time for advertising in local press and trade journals, allowing potential operators to view the property and submit their expressions of interest, shortlisting, interviewing, seeking references and selecting a preferred partner."

"When this work has been concluded and a determination of the best option has been made, a further report on the town hall will be prepared."

The town hall is not the only Hitchin issue currently undecided.

The planned redevelopment of the town centre Churchgate site to turn it into a new shopping centre is still no nearer, much to the disappointment of town centre manager Keith Hoskins and Cllr Judi Billing, chair of the Hitchin area committee.

Speaking at the recent committee meeting, Mr Hoskins said: "It is very disappointing that things are taking this amount of time.

"The Churchgate issue has been going on for far too long.

"We want to know what is happening and where we are with this, it is not moving as quickly as we would have hoped."

Cllr Judi Billing said the lack of progress is a "matter of deep frustration".

She said: "We struggle to get any help and support from the council headquarters whilst the Churchgate centre in its present form becomes an increasingly scruffy ugly relic.

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