Welcome to Hitchin Forum

A Youth Activities Directory for Hitchin has been compiled by local community groups who now want the public to check that it is up to date and accurate. More here  & directory  here – Youth Organisations Hitchin.   Do send comments, additions and corrections to directory@hitchinforum.org.uk

Footpath news. Hitchin Forum Folly Pathhas been working over the past few years to improve footpaths in the town. Hitchin has a network of over 100 footpaths and bridleways and we would like to encourage walking to reduce traffic congestion and improve health. Read more about what we are doing here.

Hitchin Town Hall Town Hall - pastreport of latest concerns in the Comet – read here. NHDC Council meeting on July 16th discussed some of the issues in the public part of the meeting (Town Hall Report 16.07.15 & Addendum,  & Scrutiny Comm extract) but the public, and were excluded from the Part 2 discussion. Background to what has been a sad episode is here.

Churchgate The next step has been taken at the North Herts Full Council Meeting on July 16th with a short term exclusivity agreement between NHDC and Hammersmatch, the current leasees of Churchgate. So, nothing is certain about what might happen in the end, but options will now be explored more fully, and maybe something will happen! More on the saga here.

Top Field A Football Club photo Simon Maddisonletter from the Charity Commission to Hitchin Town FC led to conflicting comments from the football club and their landlords – the Cow Commoners Trust. The issue was reported in the Midweek Mercury.  The Cow Commoners provided their comments in a  press release on July 7th. More background here.

The Big Hitchin Spring Clean Dell 2happened on Sunday April 26th, and the rain stayed away! Over 100 people, of all ages, covered 17 sites across the town. The largest gathering was on the Dell – the result shown on the photo (see other heroes here).   Read about the preparation here. Thanks to NHDC for their support, and for cleaning up the A602 of its rubbish!

Hitchin Forum’s Big Spring Clean was a finalist at the Comet’s Community Awards event on May 15th – full account from the Comet here. We were nominated in the ‘Great and Green’ category, won by Camps Hill School in Stevenage, where pupils have an allotment, rescue chickens, as well as clear up litter locally. Worthy winners!

Hitchin Town Action GroupIMG_0437 (HTAG -Hitchin Forum, The Hitchin Society and Hitchin Historical Society, with support from Hitchin Initiative) has sent a 60 page response to North Herts District Council for the consultation which ended on February 6th. This has been prepared following extensive consultation and discussion with the public in workshops and with our respective memberships, and was written by a panel of our members. Click here to see the HTAG response . This may seem to be a long response, but the NHDC plans amount to thousands of pages! More information here. The consultation is now closed. NHDC expect to be publishing the next draft in September this year.

Bancroft Recreation Ground did not receive Bancroft Recreation Groundthe hoped for grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was discussed at NHDC Cabinet on December 16th – the report is here. The discussion was helpful, with the portfolio holder, Councillor Jane Gray, being reassuring about the need to continue discussions with Hitchin Committee and Councillors and with the community. The water play area and toilets nearby are for installation in the next year, and other changes, which have not been finalized, are to be implemented as and when funds are available  Further information on Bancroft Rec is here.

Car parking charges: St Marys SquareOn Monday November 24th NHDC Cabinet accepted the recommendation in the parking report  to abandon (for now) the plan for evening and Sunday charges and followed the Hitchin Initiative proposals, apart from raising the 3+ and 4 hour charges – option B in parking charges. Further information here.The Council stated that they did listen to local residents, but it needed some loud shouting in the form of a petition, hard work by Hitchin Initiative (details here) and Hitchin councillors working together – minutes of special meeting here .

Careful Redhill Pathwhere you walk! 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?

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 Litter and Luton Airport see the list and links are 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

Read more about Hitchin, its history and the changes here, where to find local footpaths here.

Members are regularly updated on issues and meetings, by occasional emails and a 2 monthly newsletter - our latest is here  – and previous ones are here. We hold several members’ meetings through the year. We support members who have concerns in their neighbourhood -  one such enterprise is the  Friends of Butts Close newsletter.

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.