As the new school year begins, there is definitely something of a change in the air in Hitchin. It may just be me, of course, but it all feels very positive.
We have the new store-fronts slowly taking shape where the Woolworths shell stood for far too long. Colourful images have appeared on the front hoarding where Peacocks will be and the signs of Poundland next door are becoming clear. At the back of the site, there’s been a lot of work going on – sometimes very smelly work – to tidy up the car park and delivery areas.
Meanwhile, the old Marshalls garage (Burrs, for those of us who’ve lived here a while) is boarded up and about to be replaced with some hopefully more attractive residential buildings.
Across the road at Waitrose, the ceiling is down and work is in progress to improve the store and incorporate a brand new cafe.
'Next' is about to open after a refurbishment and the new Asda has smartened up the area opposite the British Schools on Queen Street.
Perhaps less noticeable but maybe more importantly, there seems to be a flurry of notices in shop and restaurant windows seeking staff. For a few months, teenagers of the town have been dropping their cvs like confetti around the town and perhaps now some of them might be able to begin earning and learning about the real world of work.
So, is this a good time for Hitchin? Is there a glimpse of economic recovery? Before we see too many Christmas decorations, will there be more reasons to walk the streets of Hitchin with a smile?
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.