Car parking charges for evenings and Sundays are being introduced in November with no consultation involving local people and businesses. The changes were announced by North Herts District Council on September 5th, and comments asked from Councillors and the Town Centre Manger by September 19th. A petition has been started to demand a full consultation with local residents and businesses. Read all about it here, and sign up if you agree! Up to 2080 signers before the meeting called for Hitchin Councillors, but will NHDC take any notice?
Charnwood House and its future was discussed at the Hitchin Committee on September 2nd. Hitchin Councillors welcomed the initiative taken by the newly formed Management Association in seeking to make it a centre of community activity and education. The report by the chairman of the Management Association is here.
There is a splendid network of paths around Hitchin. Some you may know, others are still to be explored. We have previously mapped these.
In the past year we have surveyed the paths – and have recently liaised with the local Countryside Access Officer to consider what can be done to improve and maintain this network within the town. Can you help us take care of the footpaths?
If you have noticed that Hitchin seems to be overflown more frequently during the spring and early summer (talking airplanes & not birds!), the figures from the airport’s annual monitoring report bear out your impression. Read our update here.
Hitchin Town Hall is being refurbished, but the works are damaging the inside of this listed building and horrify those who have seen it. The Council Planning Committee considered the approval of this on August 14th and were critical about the standard of work that they had seen. Read about the decision here.
Top Field has surged back to public awareness with the application for screening opinion revealed. This is a request from a developer for advice from NHDC as to what environmental assessment will be required before a planning application for a superstore is made. A summary is here, and newspaper reports in the Advertiser and Comet.
Priory Fields Working with other members of Hitchin Town Action Group, Hitchin Forum is helping to raise awareness of the need to take urgent action to persuade the District Council to exclude this site from the Draft Local Plan. We need to act now. If we wait until the Draft Local Plan is produced later in the year it may be too late to get the site excluded from the Plan. Priory Fields is the area between the Parkway and Maydencroft Lane – a popular walking area which looks out to hills which are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 300 went on a walk around the area on July 27th – more information about this here and photos here.
Bancroft Recreation Ground did not receive the hoped for grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. NHDC have said that there will be discussions with HLF, hopefully to clarify why, but that meeting is not until September 22nd and it is uncertain when that information will become available to the public. Following a Freedom of Information request the HLF have released the Case Paper for Bancroft and Lottery Board Minutes. We hope that discussions will be held with all interested parties and full consideration given to the needs of current users as well as looking at ways of increasing its usage within a much more restricted budget. Further information on Bancroft Rec is here.
What else do we do? The Forum exists to develop and channel energy and enthusiasm for the town. We work to highlight things that we think need to change and improve the environment, and challenge developments that we think will damage our heritage and future.
Other current campaigns, issues and concerns include Churchgate, Litter, Luton Airport – the list and links are here. We hope to influence the Local Plan which the district council will use as a basis for future developments – Planning Hitchin’s Future – here.
A Planning Group meets regularly to consider a variety of concerns that affect the town – more details here with info on the planning system. We comment on recent planning proposals – here
Hitchin Forum was formed in 1992 as a non-political umbrella to bring together people and organizations who want to maintain and enhance Hitchin’s special character. It enables the views of people who live and work in Hitchin to be presented in a co-ordinated manner to relevant bodies. - more history is here
Members are regularly updated on issues and meetings, by occasional emails and a 2 monthly newsletter (past copies here). We hold several members’ meetings through the year. We support members who have concerns in their neighbourhood - one such enterprise is the Butts Close newsletter – here.
Do join us! Anyone with an interest in Hitchin can join the Forum, either as an individual or as a nominated representative of an organization in the town. If you do want to be more involved then tell us – we often need an extra pair of hands! But – there is no obligation to do more than sign up – that is support enough. It is important that we have a wide membership base, partly so that we can hear a wide range of opinions, and also that we hear about issues in all corners of the town – membership details here.