Councillors to consider potential scheme to regenerate Hitchin’s Churchgate Centre
A new potential joint venture opportunity for the regeneration of the Churchgate Centre in Hitchin will be discussed at a meeting of North Hertfordshire District Council’s (NHDC) Full Council on 8 February. The potential joint venture between the Council and Shearer Property Group would see a ‘face-lift’ of the existing shopping centre, improving the quality of the units available and in turn making them more attractive to retailers. The scheme would also see improved public open space and investment in Hitchin’s historic market. At the meeting Councillors will be asked to consider supporting the principle of a joint venture regeneration of the Churchgate Centre, with the Council as funder of the regeneration. In return the Council would receive the lion’s share of the ongoing revenue generated. The Shearer Property Group would provide their specialist expertise and knowledge, essential to making a scheme such as this a success. If the principle is supported further detailed work would then be undertaken to ensure the proposals were deliverable, before a final decision is made. The Council has been seeking to regenerate this area of Hitchin for many years, however previous potential schemes have come up against a number of challenges, including the size of the scheme, the cost of buying, knocking down and rebuilding the shopping centre and finding a suitable location for the market. It is hoped that the proposal for a smaller regeneration, which does not propose knocking down the Churchgate centre will address many of the previous concerns. Cllr Lynda Needham, Leader of the Council said:
We are pleased that the regeneration of Churchgate is back on the agenda. The proposals would improve the retail offer in Hitchin, bring much needed investment to Hitchin Market and make the surrounding area more attractive, as well as provide an investment opportunity for the Council. We know that the people of Hitchin are keen to see a suitable proposal come forward for the area and we look forward to debating this potential joint venture opportunity on 8 February.