The latest Friends of Butts Close Newsletter is available - FoBC Newsletter Nov 2015 - including a report on the Greenspace Action Plan.
The Big Hitchin Autumn Clean Up happened on Sunday 18th October. Hitchin came under attack when around 90 volunteers young and old gave up their time to tackle the war against litter! Between them they managed to fill a staggering 100+ black sacks full of rubbish! 13 different sites around the town were cleared. Thanks to NHDC and Hitchin Initiative for their support, and to all the volunteers! More photos of the Clean Up teams here. If you want to join in next time contact firstname.lastname@example.org And if you see any flytipping – report it to the Council.
Walsworth housing plans: There is a planning application for the North Herts College site. Hitchin Forum’s Planning Group response is to question the style and the setting in the middle of Walsworth, ask about affordable housing, challenge the size of the flats, and whether the developer’s section 106 money could be channelled to the community centre. Read more here.
Hitchin Forum has 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 & North Herts District Museum are nearing completion – the latest Comet report is here & updates from the museum are here. However concerns over the Development Agreement with Hitchin Town Hall Ltd have seemingly not been resolved – the last report was 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 were excluded from the Part 2 discussion. Background to the controversy 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 letter 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. More background here. Hitchin Town FC held a public meeting on Wednesday September 30th at which the possibility of a move to Priory School grounds was raised! It was also reported that dialogue with the Cow Commoners had resumed, but details were lacking – more is on the football club website here.
Hitchin Town Action Group (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 the 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.
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?
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 – present & 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.