Read our latest newsletter – changes to the Highway Code, Luton Airport and plans to expand, other around town plans and planning applications, a walk on Priory Fields – a lot to digest! Read on –Newsletter March-April 167 and let us know your thoughts with comments to the editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Churchgate and its future. Change is in the air! After the withdrawal of a possible purchaser, North Herts Council agreed on March 23rd “That in principle the Council should purchase the leasehold interest for the Churchgate Shopping Centre, subject to the economic case for doing so.” This is subject to it being a viable investment, and then “following consultation with the public and other stakeholders the Council will come to a decision on what it considers is most appropriate vision for the future of the site.” We hope that they will look again at the Churchgate Resurgence ideas (their website is here) before it “decides how to deliver that vision. So much better than the awful prospects of the Simons plans – an anchor store, probably Debenham’s, overlooking the market area. How awful a white elephant would that have been? We look forward to the consultation and the prospect of change.
Hitchin Forum’s Big Spring Clean-up on March 20th – 100 plus volunteers, 15 sites, 70 bags of rubbish. How good is that? And thanks to all who took part, and of course the organiser, Bill Sellicks, and Hitchin BID and North Herts Council.
If you would like to be involved in the next (autumn) litterpick, please email email@example.com.
Luton Airport and its (unsustainable) plans. London Luton Airport Limited is attempting to obtain permission to increase its passenger cap to 19 million passengers per year. This is its fourth attempt to relax noise conditions imposed when it achieved permission to increase passenger numbers to 18mppa, which have already been breached due to unrestrained demand-led expansion. Such expansion will impact on North Hertfordshire’s residents, is based on what Hitchin Forum believes to be an unsustainable business model. More about the impact here
It also takes no account of the need to drive down carbon emissions. Hitchin Forum has submitted an objection to the airport’s application to Luton Borough Council letter of objection here.
Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) has full details on its website, including links to Luton Borough Council’s Planning Portal where you can see all the associated documents; https://ladacan.org/luton-airport-19-million-time-to-say-no/ The London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee (LLATVCC) has also commented in their newsletter – LLATVCC Newsletter 63 Their latest newsletter is here LLATVCC Newsletter 65 and their latest newsletter about ‘Jet Zero’, a misnomer if ever there was one, is here LLATVCC Newsletter 66
Hitchin Footpaths – How You Can Help
For some years, Hitchin Forum members have worked in coordination with Hertfordshire County Council’s then Countryside Access Officer for our area. Read more here about what we do and what can be done for the town’s 100+ footpaths and bridleways.
The North Herts Local Plan deliberations are continuing. A Consultation was held and closed in June. The Inspectors final verdict is awaited -to quote NHDC – “The Inspector is currently reviewing the responses to the consultation on the Main Modifications, and depending on the points raised in the representations, it is anticipated that his Final Report will be issued during November 2021.”
We have also been paying attention to the recent consultation by Stevenage Borough Council on a planning application for West of Stevenage. The date for comments on that has now closed, but the plans are still available on the Stevenage BC website, planning reference 21/00356/FPM – with the outcome still be decided.
Highover Farm Development. There is an amended plan available on the NHDC website – if you have difficulty with that link the Application number is 18/01154/OP. The Forum has been involved in a meeting with the developers and others and the meeting minutes are here. Comments on the plans are included in our January newsletter.
Friends of Butts Close –
Butts Close is the oldest open space in Hitchin with a long history of use stretching back to late medieval times, when it was a sporting ground for archery. The Friends help take care of it, do some extra litter clearance and even some planting – Tony who coordinates the group is pictured here (photo Simon Maddison). The Friends latest newsletter is here FoBC Newsletter May 2022. This refers also to the ‘Greenspace Action Plan’ (GAP). And there is more about the Friends here.
Air Quality in Hitchin – what is happening?
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 town. Information on all of our current and recent campaigns, issues and concerns are available here. We have organized working groups to look at the main issues as they arise – eg. the town centre, transport, open spaces and recreation, planning applications and planning policies More details here with info on the planning system.
Hitchin Forum was formed in 1992 as a non-political umbrella to bring together people and organizations to challenge developments that we think will damage our heritage and future- more history is here.
Read more about Hitchin, its history and the changes 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. 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.
Contact the co-chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org