Negotiations over as agreement signed to transform Hitchin Town Hall

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By JulieGK | Saturday, October 20, 2012, 12:56

A 'landmark' signing of an agreement between North Herts District Council (NHDC) and Hitchin Town Hall Ltd took place at a special meeting of the council on Tuesday.

The signing of the agreement officially gives approval for the development of North Hertfordshire Museum and Hitchin Town Hall Community Facility to proceed.  

It signifies the end of months of negotiations between the two parties agreeing to transform the historic Hitchin Town Hall into both a community facility, run by Hitchin Town Hall Ltd, and a Council-run North Herts museum alongside it.

The £4.23 million project is being funded from a number of sources: £850,000 from Hitchin Town Hall Ltd in the form of a grant and loan from Adventure Capital Fund, formerly known as Futurebuilders England Ltd; a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund for the museum fit-out and the remainder of the project will be funded by NHDC.

Brent Smith, Chairman of Hitchin Town Hall Ltd and Hitchin Initiative Ltd said: "It has been a long and difficult process but we are delighted that we have managed to work with NHDC and our funders to save the Town Hall for community use. The Town Hall will be part of a wonderful facility together with a new, state of the art, District Museum. This will be something of which we can all be proud."

The project involves combining the museum collections of Hitchin and Letchworth museums and creating additional space so that much more of the heritage of the area will be on display.

Crucially, the project will create much needed improved physical access to the museum, which the two current museums don't offer.

Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC's portfolio holder for Community Engagement said: "North Hertfordshire Museum and Hitchin Town Hall Community Facility will have wide-ranging benefits for the whole district and we look forward to being able to deliver a facility where visitors, the local community, volunteers and staff will have the chance to explore their local heritage."

Are you excited about the changes? Do you think the multi-million pound project will be worth it? Let us know in the comment boxes below.

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