Agenda item


To receive a verbal presentation from the Hitchin BID Manager.


Mr Tom Hardy, Hitchin BID Manager, provided a verbal presentation regarding the issues and activities in Hitchin.


Audio recording – 8 minutes 58 seconds


Mr Tom Hardy, Hitchin BID Manager, thanked the Chair for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the issues and activities in Hitchin Town Centre and drew attention to the following:


·         The BID would be happy to support any plans by the family of Councillor Judi Billing to commemorate her memory in Hitchin.

·         The Christmas lights had been changed and added to from last year. The icicles on Sun Street are particularly effective and they will explore installing these in other parts of town.

·         There had been good feedback received regarding the ‘Welcome to Hitchin’ motif.

·         The Christmas tree was in place, with lights provided by Councillor Ian Albert and the baubles provided by the community.

·         The Christmas light switch on event had been well attended.

·         There were lots of family friendly activities planned on the weekend of 17th and 18th December.

·         The Snowman trail was running through to the 20th January, and had so far been extremely popular and even featured in The Guardian newspaper.

·         A Christmas edition of the H-Town newspaper was available, with a gift guide included to promote local shopping.

·         Instagram promotions had taken place detailing the safety measures in place in town to keep people safe.

·         There had been around £27k of H-Town Pounds sold to date, with lots being returned by businesses and the BID will monitor and track where the H-Town Pounds are being spent. There were around 84 shops and eateries signed up to the scheme.

·         In 2023 the aim was to be more business focussed and look to run events outside of the main town centre.

·         The BID wanted to support others to put on events in the town, by assisting with paperwork and practicalities.

·         There was a new Front of House Manager, who was responsible for dealing with the Information Centre shop.

·         The new website,, was in the final stages of development.

·         A camera was to be installed on the roof of Osinsky’s providing an online live-stream of the Market Square.

·         Events were being planned to celebrate the King’s Coronation, with a big screen planned, but this was awaiting details from Buckingham Palace before being confirmed.

·         There was an ongoing campaign to encourage bus and tour operators to visit the town and the BID was working with companies to include the Town Centre as part of their excursions.

·         The BID had provided workshops and 1 to 1 support to business, to help support these through the cost of living crisis by finding was to save money.

·         The vacancies in Hitchin stoop at around 2%, but it was unsure how this would be impacted in 2023.

·         There was lots of promotion ongoing to encourage businesses and customers to shop local this Christmas.

·         The renewal ballot for the new 5-year term of the BID was due in April 2024 and consultation on this process would begin in February 2023.

·         The BID would support the Council to introduce pay-on-exit schemes in car parks, to encourage people to spend more time in the town.


In response to a point raised by Mr Hardy regarding pay-on-exit car parking, Councillor Keith Hoskins noted a trial of pay-on-exit parking was due to take place at Woodside Car Park in early 2023. The Executive Member for Planning and Transport was also a keen supporter of pay-on-exit schemes.


The Chair thanked Mr Hardy for his update to the Committee.