Chairman Julian Hedley Speaks on the Revival of the Hitchin Society

Good evening everybody and on behalf of all the committee members I would like to welcome you to the Hitchin Society’s Summer Social. My name is Julian Hedley and I am the new chairman of the society.

The Hitchin Society is a community organisation dedicated to protecting all that makes Hitchin special. It is easy to forget that Hitchin is one of the best preserved market towns in the Home Counties and as we all know the town has a great sense of community spirit.

We are a civic society formed by local people in 1962 and we are a registered charity. Our role is to work independently for the public good and campaign for improvements to the urban environment which involves commenting on local planning and environmental issues.

We do not want to be seen as a society that is always looking backwards and simply saying “no” to any new projects and in fact we recognise new developments with our Hitchin Society awards programme.

We are progressive and our sights are firmly set on the future. We are keen to address issues that will impact on our children and their children such as affordable housing, residential development, environmental issues and what happens to our high street.

To stay relevant for the next 50 years we need to get more members of all age groups and we particularly need more women to join. We want our society to represent the diverse community that makes up Hitchin.

I would like to thank Ben and Tom for the use of the Red Hart this evening which is hopefully an example of a careful redevelopment of a 500 year old building which will serve the residents of Hitchin for another 500 years.

Please enjoy the rest of your evening.

Julian Hedley

Chairman of The Hitchin Society

Upcoming Events

Dear Members

Apologies for the silence since the AGM in March, but your committee has been working hard behind the scenes on the relaunch of the Hitchin Society.

Unfortunately in this day and age what seem like simple administration tasks always take longer than expected but we are pleased to have a new data base of members (the old one was so old it could not be read by any of the new data base programmes), we have satisfied ourselves that we are GDPR compliant, and we now have on line banking which should make joining the Society a lot simpler for new members.

Future Events

9 July 2018, 19.30 - Sun Hotel: Clare Fleck will be giving a talk on “Lady Constance Lytton and the fight for the vote for women”.  Tickets are priced at £8 each either on the day or from the Hitchin Initiative office in the Church yard as part of the Hitchin Festival

14 August 2018, 19.30 - Red Hart: Summer Social Evening in the garden at the newly renovated Red Hart 28-29 Bucklersbury. This will be our relaunch event so please bring along any potential new members

19 September 2018, 19.30 - British Schools: Talk by Paul Brenham MBE on the work of the Lord Lieutenancy

14 November 2018, 19.30 – British Schools: Talk by Keith Hoskins

14 January 2019, 19.30: Talk by Ben Hedley on renovating the Red Hart

13 March 2019, 19.30 – British Schools: AGM followed by a quiz on Hitchin 

Planning Update

Since the last planning notes for our AGM on 19 March this year, there has been hardly anything to report, as there has been little or no movement on the significant issues of interest to us.

The Examination in Public of NHDC’s Local Plan – This ended on 27 March, the Inspector having told NHDC that they must re-draft parts of the Plan and then put out the ‘main modifications’ to a 6-week public consultation. The Inspector issued a Note about this on 10 April, and then a further one on 6 June, saying that the Council had not yet been able to complete all the actions from the Hearing Sessions, so the invitation to respondents to provide written comments had been put back and would not now take place until late June at the earliest.

Churchgate – In April NHDC published a superficial internet survey on their outline plans for this area. We did not respond, as we felt that the form of the ‘consultation’ was so unsatisfactory. We intend to comment later, in our own words, if and when the plans reach a more substantial stage. 

Town Hall – Despite assurances in the local press in February of ‘an early and timely resolution to the outstanding issues’, we are not aware of any further progress having been made. 

Civic Award Plaques

As you may be aware, we have a number of civic awards that have been presented in the past but latterly no plaques have been erected. We have decided that we need to raise the profile of these awards and the society itself. As a result we will shortly be writing to all the local schools announcing that the Hitchin Society is having a competition to design a new plague. The winning pupil will win £1,000 worth of equipment for their school. The cost of this is being met from a donation that was left to the society specifically for the civic awards.   

Your Input

Can you please let us know if there are any specific topics you would like to society to address or events that you would like staged in the future. At our last committee meeting, environmental issues were raised and we feel that this would be a good way of connecting with potential new members and for the society to show that it can have an impact locally. There is a substantial budget that needs spending on plausible and worthy ideas and we will be looking into this at the next committee meeting. If any member has an idea which they would like us to consider please contact us at

If you would like to get involved with the committee we are always looking for new members so please let us know. 


 Postal communication is expensive for the society and if you have received this newsletter by mail would you please consider receiving it by email in future. You can let us have your updated contact details using the email address above. If you do not have an email address don’t worry we will still continue to issue newsletters by post.

On behalf of all the committee we thank you for your continuing support and if you have not yet renewed your subscription then please make your payments either on line to The Hitchin Society, Barclays Bank, Account number 10213551, Sort Code 20-41-15 or by cheque to Phil Byford  29 Waterdell Lane St Ippolyts Hitchin SG4 7RA.

Julian Hedley