Hitchin Town Centre Manager, Keith Hoskins, today celebrates 15 years in his post.
Appointed on 6 April 1997, Keith Hoskins is a force to be reckoned with in Hitchin. A modest man, he was awarded the accolade of Town Centre Manager of the Year by Sceptre in 2005 and he’s achieved much more besides.
On his appointment, there was little co-ordinated marking of our town, despite its historic market town status. I would hate to think how many events and programmes he helps to co-ordinate (usually with the admirable assistance of Cherry Lincoln who can be found in the Town Centre office in Churchyard most days). Together, they’re a team that demonstrates passion for our town and helps us all to do better because of it.
One of the most worrying trends in town centres in recent years has to be empty shops and the Local Data Company’s latest figures show that Hitchin is below average, within ‘only’ 12% of shop units empty. Letchworth’s 22% makes it the second highest in the East of England behind Dunstable. As usual, Keith was considered in his response to The Comet (http://www.thecomet.net/news/report_says_20_of_letchworth_town_centre_shops_are_empty_1_1203891) and said the report only provides “a snapshot of a single day”.
At a recent networking event, Keith spoke about his passion for the town and for the initiatives which have helped it and future prospects. He talked about the change to Hitchin Market, which is now owned and run by the community, as well as the plans for the Town Hall, which is set to close in October and reopen in spring 2014.
What Keith really brings is an attention to detail and an ability to respond to where he spots needs, or where people point out needs. He will speak about the big issues – and the big buildings – in the town, but also on the smaller things that people in the town care about.
For an interloper (like many of us, Keith was not born here, but was drawn here and can’t quite seem to get away), he shows a genuine care for the people, the community and the bricks and mortar of Hitchin.
Congratulations on a successful 15 years, Keith!
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.