Priory Fields Survey: Following the successful walk around the fields in July, Hitchin Town Action Group did a survey of the regular use of this area. We don’t like to make unverified statements, and so we tried to find the facts about the recreational use of the fields and paths. The Council has now indicated that Priory Fields is not included in the Draft housing allocations & draft housing sites. So we can continue to enjoy this green and pleasant area so close to the town centre! HTAG has also produced ‘Planning Hitchin’s Future – a document to contribute to and hopefully influence the forthcoming District Local Plan.
Car parking charges for evenings and Sundays have been proposed by NHDC, with a too short consultation period, albeit reversed following a request by Hitchin Initiative and the support of a petition attracting 2348 signers in 1 week. An alternative proposal, voiced by the Initiative at a meeting of Hitchin Councillors on Oct 13th has now been produced and local people were invited to vote on whether they want the new proposal. The survey has now ended and the results will be presented to NHDC along with the alternative charging proposal – details of which are here.
Brilliant litter clearing day on October 12th, over 90 litter picking enthusiasts of all ages, 15 sites and excellent back up from NHDC and great Uncle Bulgaria. Prize collection of rubbish in Charlton – pic on right. Full report here & more pictures of the litter pickers here.
Top Field, Hitchin Town FC and the Cow Commoners Trust – what does the future hold? A lively and well attended meeting on October 8th displayed the strife that may be faced before we know. A planning application for a supermarket on the site is still intended by New Roads Development Ltd. The Cow Commoners show no sign of giving up after another round of legal action. Bad for the football club, bad for the town! More on this and a few ideas 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 were critical about the standard of work that they had seen. Read about the decision here. HTHLtd press release Oct 10th and more horrific photos of the interior here.
Bus Cuts – Consultation? Efficiency? Or just CUTS?? Hitchin Forum is opposing the County Council plan to end support for many bus services that run after 18.30 weekdays and on Sundays. Read more about the County Council plans and comment on the plans here and read our response here.
Careful where 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?
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.
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.