Churchgate proposals receive overwhelmingly positive feedback
Initial proposals to regenerate the Churchgate Centre in Hitchin and surrounding area have received widespread support, according to the results of a recent public consultation, carried out by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC).
The survey, carried out in March and April 2018, generated responses from 578 people, with some 86% of respondents supporting the idea of regenerating the existing Churchgate Centre to provide improved shop units. An overwhelming majority (93%) of respondents also supported the principle of investing in Hitchin’s market to ensure it is fit for the 21st Century.
- The consultation received 578 responses in total, with 76% of respondents living in Hitchin, 12% living in a village or rural area in North Herts and 6% living in Letchworth.
86% of respondents supported the idea of regenerating the existing Churchgate Centre to provide improved shop units.
Respondents who visited the Churchgate Centre less often than fortnightly were asked what would make them visit more often. The top three responses were: more attractive environment (79%), better quality shops (71%) and more attractive buildings / shop fronts (67%).
When asked whether they support the principle of regenerating the public space to the rear of the Churchgate Centre, including opening up the views of the Church from the market, 76% of respondents said yes, 11% said no and 13% didn’t know.
The vast majority (93%) of respondents supported the principle of investing in Hitchin’s market to ensure it is fit for the 21st Century.
When asked what types of regular stalls they would like to see in an improved market, the most popular response was food and drink i.e. food consumed at home (81%), followed by street food e.g. tapas (77%), with antiques and home-wares receiving 53% and 50% support respectively.
Cllr Lynda Needham, Leader of the Council said: "We wanted to consult with residents at the earliest possible stage to get an indication of appetite for improving the Churchgate Centre and surrounding area. We are delighted that there is widespread support for a potential scheme and we are working hard to come up with a suitable viable proposal. We still have some way to go, however we hope to be able to report back to Full Council in the next couple of months or so with an update on progress.
"We would like to thank those residents who took part in this initial consultation and hope that we can gain an even bigger response to any subsequent consultations as the scheme progresses."
An Executive Summary and full consultation responses can be found on the Council’s website at www.north-herts.gov.uk/churchgate