Over ten years ago, in 2009-10, the Society helped with a thorough review of Hitchin’s Conservation Area. This was first designated in 1969 with the aim of safeguarding the historic character of the town centre at a time when modern ‘development’ was accelerating. The town is a living organism and has to change in order to survive but it is important that decisions on such changes are made in a context fully aware of Hitchin’s undoubted importance as a classic ‘historic market town’. The Conservation Area acts as vital background for the deliberations of the local authorities’ planners and, ideally, for those proposing changes too.
The original Conservation Area was reviewed in 1997-98 but it was soon clear that further work was needed. The review of 2009-10 was ably coordinated by a firm of architectural and planning specialists (The Conservation Studio) who consulted widely and held information events on possible alterations to the Area. The result of these deliberations was the adoption, in 2011, of a set of new Conservation Area frameworks –
- Hitchin Conservation Area (the main Town Centre area)
- Hitchin Butts Close Conservation Area
- Hitchin Hill Path Conservation Area
- Hitchin Railway and Ransom’s Recreation Ground Conservation Area
- Hitchin Register of Buildings of Local Interest
At the time much attention was rightly paid to the review exercise, its successful conclusion and its formal adoption as policy by North Hertfordshire District Council in 2011. Some recent discussions on local developments have highlighted, however, that that profile is no longer as high as it should be. The Society has decided, therefore, to include a link to the set of very useful, and statutorily, based 2011 Conservation Area documents in its Website Links section for wider and more accessible access; the Link can also be accessed by clicking here: (opens in a new tab)