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Hitchin Town Talk Notes - Tuesday 24 May

Author: Claire Morgan, NHDC Published: 2nd June 2016 12:21

Hitchin Town Talk Notes - Tuesday 24 May

6.30-7.15pm at Westmill Community Centre

The Chairman, Councillor Judi Billing, welcomed everybody to the Town Talk and mentioned how lovely the new Community next door looks.

The next Town Talk will take place on Tuesday 6th September 2016 at 6.30pm at Benslow Music School.

Present -

  • Cllr Judi Billing(Chair)
  • Cllr Paul Clark
  • Cllr Frank Radcliff
  • Cllr Richard Thake
  • Cllr Allison Ashley
  • Cllr Nicola Harris
  • Cllr Alan Millard
  • Cllr Ian Albert
  • Cllr Simon Harwood
  • HCC Cllr Derek Ashley
  • Claire Morgan - Communities Officer

Issues raised this session

  1. Bancroft Recreation Ground - Brendon Lee
  2. Town Centre Working Group - Mike Clarke
  3. Review of major projects - Bernard Eddleston
  4. Hitchin Shop Signage - Ray Shakespeare-Smith
  5. Advertising on Old Park Road - Margaret Eddleston

1. Bancroft Recreation Ground

BL reported that the signage for the newly renovated Bancroft Rec. has been referred to as Bancroft Gardens on the signage. The name of the area was agreed at full council to be kept as Bancroft Recreation Ground as this was historically correct and the signs should be altered accordingly.

ACTION: CM report to Grounds Maintenance

2. Town Centre Working

MC Asked if the Town Centre Working group had been regenerated? Clllr RT answered that it has been set up in case it is needed in order to avoid any delays. Cllr AA confirmed that this is the case.

3. Review of major projects - Task and Finish Group

Bernard asked Councillors whether NHDC would be inviting external experts to advise this group and will any findings from the group be made public? Cllr JB responded that yes external experts will be consulted if necessary. The scoping document is available to download from link below. http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/council-and-democracy/overview-and-scrutiny-committee

4. Hitchin Shop Signage

RSS stated that he is aware that businesses have to follow certain planning guidelines when installing shop signage. However, these currently only relate to the size of the signs and not quality, colour etc. RSS explained that some town centre shop signs are ugly and gave the phone shop at 14 High Street (opposite Brand Street) as an example. RSS wondered if this issue is something that the Authority ought to address.

Cllr AA agreed that NHDC should work with the BID to provide advisory planning controls on the style of shop signage. Cllr RT explained that there is more control within the conservation area of the Town. Cllr SH stated that he didn't think the Authority has any statutory right to apply stricter planning restrictions. Cllr JB clarified that RSS was probably referring that some kind of voluntary control be sought from local businesses but she felt this should be discussed with Keith Hoskins the BID manager (who was not present at the time of this meeting but would be attending the Hitchin Committee Meeting following Town Talk).

Keith Hoskins has subsequently informed CM that 14 High Street was a temporary pop-up shop which will be moving out next month and the property getting a new shop frontage with residential accommodation above.

5. Advertising on Old Park Road

ME explained that McCarthy & Stone have been building the scheme on Old Park Road for 4 years, only 1 apartment still for sale is left but they still have a multitude of signs along the road which are now redundant.

Cllr JB asked if anyone had made the request to McCarthy & Stone to remove the signs?

ACTION: Cllr JB will call them and Cllr AA said that she was happy to pop in and talk to them.

Cllr JB contacted McCarthy & Stone on Wednesday 25th May, explained that there have been complaints about the number of for sale signs on Old Park Road and a representative from the company has agreed to arrange their removal. (This issue should be monitored to check if the signs are removed)

6. Any Other Business

Dr Leslie Mustoe: There is a weight restriction sign at the corner of Lancaster Road and Bedford Road (on left as you travel towards Bedford), that is obscured by foliage.

ME: What is happening with the parking restrictions on West Hill / Greys Lane?

Cllr AA: responded; work is progressing slowly due to pressures on the Planning Dept.

HCC Cllr DA responded; has received an email stating that NHDC Chief Exec. David Scholes has agreed the Parking Restriction Order and will come into place on 18th July 2016.

BL: Complained that the pavement outside Magnets on corner of Heritage Road floods when we have rain.

HCC Cllr RT responded that this should be reported on the Herts Highways on-line fault reporting system.

HCC Cllr DA replied that a raft of work on highways issues in the Town Centre is about to commence he asked that BL email him directly regarding this issue and he will have it added to the list of works.

ACTION: Brendan Lee to email the issue to HCC Cllr Derrick Ashley

Mike Clark asked whether the police would be able to enforce the 20mph limits when they come into place.

Cllr JB replied that we would have to wait and see what effects the 20mph zones have on the traffic. If drivers continue to ignore the speed limit then Councillors will liaise with police regarding enforcement or some other action. She stated that HCC are

investigating solar powered speed signs that flash either a happy or sad face to tell drivers whether they are within the designated speed.

Cllr SH explained that he has been liaising with HCC officers on controlling speed on Stevenage Road and one of the solar powered signs have been installed, to some extent it is successful in encouraging drivers to stay within the speed limit.

A member of the public raised the issue of parking by the Tesco Express near to Hitchin Railway Station. There is a bus stop which is unused and double yellow lines and those using the shop use both to park. Some people are parking inconsiderately and dangerously right on the corner on the double yellow lines and no action is taken by police or parking enforcement.

Cllr JB suggested that as the cars are parked for a very short period it may be difficult to catch them.

HCC Cllr DA reported that there are plans to re-engineer the entrance to the Station in order to alleviate traffic congestion in the area and may also mitigate the parking situation.

Cllr FR stated that although this is a Highways issue it is also a Police issue and as such should be reported to the Police Crime Commissioner in order to request the Police enforce the parking restrictions.

HCC Cllr DA responded by asking whether NHDC Parking Enforcement could visit the area on their rounds and ticket cars on the double yellow lines?

ACTION: CM to pass request on to NHDC Parking Manager

Parking Services Manager has responded that officers are regularly patrolling the area but as pointed out during the meeting by Cllr JB people are often not parked long enough to issue a ticket.

ME asked when the new Westmill Centre is going to be open. Cllr FR responded that lease agreements are currently being finalised.

End (Meeting Closed at 7.15pm)

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