Celebrity vicar the Reverend Richard Coles was there to open the newly renovated development behind Hitchin's Radcliffe Road after painstaking refurbishment by Howard Cottage Housing Association for local people in housing need.
The Cloisters, right opposite Holy Saviour Church, is a registered building of local interest. Two years ago it was in a very dilapidated state. Howard Cottage Development Manager Helen Pearson said: “The properties were so small, they just weren’t fit for modern living. The residents were living in one room and that’s where their bed was – a bedroom/lounge, kitchenette and a very run-down bathroom.”
Fast forward to today and it has become one of Hitchin’s most beautiful developments – 10 roomy apartments for local people in housing need. It’s an amazing blend of the old and the new. In fact, as you walk round the newly renovated cloisters and look out onto the courtyard, you’d think you were walking round an Oxford or Cambridge college.
The new development was officially opened by the Reverend Richard Coles – radio presenter, co-presenter of Saturday Live, former member of the Communards and the only vicar in the UK to have had a number one single.
After the ceremony, Richard tweeted his feelings: “I just opened some splendid refurbed alms houses in Hitchin. Bravo Howard Cottage Housing Association!”
The Reverend Ian Todd, vicar of Holy Saviour Church, said: “We’re thrilled to bits to have a partner like Howard Cottage. We think there probably aren’t many housing associations willing to take on a project like this because it’s a huge, huge financial commitment.
“The buildings aren’t listed so they could have simply knocked the whole thing down and started again. But the Housing Association has been in the local area a long time and has an interest in this kind of project.
“Howard Cottage ploughed £1 million into The Cloisters and we are chuffed to bits with the end result. It’s the type of transformation we’d love to have done ourselves if we’d had the resources. It has met all our needs – beautifully.”
Find out more at www.howard-cottage.co.uk
Member since: 31st May 2012
Writer and sax player. Brought up in Hitchin and - apart from uni and some ensuing madness of life in London - I've always lived here.