Traders braced for bother as gas team hits Hitchin

Chris Holmes. Picture:

Chris Holmes. Picture: - Credit: Archant

Work is scheduled to start next week on replacing worn-out gas mains in the centre of Hitchin, with concerns over the disruption it may cause.

A spokesman for National Grid – tasked with carrying out the repairs – said: “We will be carrying out essential gas mains replacement in Hitchin during February and March to ensure safe and reliable gas supplies to local homes and businesses for decades to come.

“Work will start in Churchgate on Monday, and is expected to take up to two weeks. No traffic management measures will be needed for this work. The existing metal gas mains will be replaced with tough, hard wearing plastic pipes which have a lifespan of at least 80 years if left undisturbed in the ground.

“In March, we will be replacing gas mains in Queen Street. The work is due to start on Monday, March 23, and is expected to be finished by Thursday, April 2.

“To safeguard staff and motorists it will be necessary to install temporary traffic lights while the work is under way.

“National Grid apologises for any inconvenience caused.”

A spokeswoman for Hitchin Town Action Group said: “Regarding the Churchgate area, the service yard by the side of the Rose and Crown pub will inconvenience deliveries, rubbish collection and parking for shops in Churchyard Walk.

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“Secondly and more disruptive will be Queen Street from the entrance to St Mary’s car park round into Hollow Lane. We recommend parking in the Lairage multi-storey car park, especially as it’s cheaper.”

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: “I’m sure there is going to be inconvenience to people but if the mains need replacing they need replacing – which can only be a good thing in the long-term.”

Chris Holmes, of men’s clothing shop HRH Holmes and Son, added: “Hitchin is already a destination centre and my shop is fast becoming a destination shop. Hopefully the disruption won’t be too bad.

“My Churchyard Walk shop is near Churchgate – but if the gas mains need replacing it’s best they replace them in the winter before my spring collection comes out so my customers won’t be too inconvenienced.”