Why Hitchin?

We think of Hitchin as a special sort of place, with much to be proud of. An exceptional sense of community. A rare survival of a traditional market town, rich in medieval and Georgian buildings. Easy to reach from London.

Our Mission

The Hitchin Society is dedicated to protecting all that is best in our town, while making Hitchin an even better place in which to live, work or relax. If you share these views about Hitchin, you may find that the Hitchin Society provides a way of finding out more about the town, and keeping Hitchin special for all to enjoy, now and in the future.

The Society is a Registered Charity, and is run by a committee of elected volunteers. Its Constitution may be seen here.

The Hitchin Society is committed to both protecting Hitchin’s fantastic heritage and developing the town into a forward-thinking civic centre.
— Julian Hedley, Chairman

OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE TOWN

  • The Radcliffe Arms: We wrote several letters about the various planning
    applications for this site, objecting to proposals for demolition and lesser
    depredations, arguing for the preservation of a landmark building at a gateway to the
    town and for the community amenity of a local public house to be retained.
    Eventually a chain bought the pub, and we are pleased to see that it has now re-
    opened as a going concern.
  • Churchgate: This is another long-running saga in the town. It seems, however, that NHDC may have learnt a lesson from the Simons débacle in 2014, because the latest proposal is much more modest – in a report for Council 8.2.2018, officers simply suggested that refurbishment/regeneration of the Churchgate Centre and the Market should be undertaken. At the Council meeting, members agreed to the three recommendations in the report: to support the principle of a joint venture with Shearer Property Group for regeneration, to authorise negotiations with SPG and to note the proposal to allow the Market to be managed in-house, subject to Cabinet’s approval.
  • 71 – 81 Hermitage Road: Almost exactly a year ago, in March 2017, we objected
    to an application to add two storeys to this block and to face it in white cladding,
    because we felt that the extra height and the paleness of the cladding would cause
    the building to stand out too much in the streetscape, although we did welcome the
    proposed extension of the walkway from Hermitage Road through to Portmill Lane.

    In the event, conditional permission was granted for this application, and we can only hope that the cladding will be safe and that the walkway will be enhanced as outlined in the application.
     
  • Hitchin Town Hall: The saga of the dispute between NHDC and HTH Ltd over the museum entrance area (which was 14/15 Brand Street) has now been running for four years. It is all but unbelievable that it still continues. At a public meeting on the Town Hall and museum at the Sun Hotel on 24.1.2018, it was said that agreement had been reached on a price which NHDC was now willing to pay for the site of 14 & 15 Brand Street (£550,000), but details still remained to be settled. Subsequently there was a meeting between the two parties on 2.2.2018, and in the words of a press statement issued afterwards: All parties met and confirmed that they are committed to an early and timely resolution to the outstanding issues surrounding the sale of 14/15 Brand Street. We have discussed all of the substantive issues and have managed to come to an outline agreement on the great majority. There are several issues where there is a suggested way forward that each party needs to consult upon internally. We've committed to progress at speed from this point forward in order to secure an early mutually satisfactory conclusion. So, once again, we shall have to wait and see.