Just two years ago, Hitchin Town Centre had been named as a finalist in the Great British High Street Awards 2019. Despite losing out on the crown, Hitchin Town Centre has remained one of the more popular destinations in Hertfordshire. As times and demands change, town centres and high streets across Hertfordshire also need to change to meet the demands of residents and visitors coming from out of town.
As residents return to the cobbled streets around the town centre, we asked the question… ‘what is missing from Hitchin Town Centre?’ In total, we had over 200 individual responses with 40 different suggestions.
Here are the top ten things missing from Hitchin Town Centre.
From 10 to 1, below is a list of the top things voted for by Hitchin residents. Some notable responses that did not make the top ten include a Vietnamese restaurant, a gin bar, toy shop, escape room and art gallery.
10. McDonalds/KFC/Nandos 2%
Would local residents really stomach a McDonalds in Hitchin Town Centre? Would Colonel Sanders be welcomed with open arms? These two fast food giants may bring the Big Mac, finger licking’ chicken and employment but what about the litter and UberEats riders? There are a number of issues that come hand in hand with today’s fast food giants.
9. Record store 3%
Owning music in a psychical format had been on a steady decline since 2010. However, nearly 5 million LPs were purchased in the UK last year alone. Most of these have been online but is there an opportunity for a savvy Hitchin entrepreneur to create a nostalgic record store experience?
8. Live outdoor entertainment 3%
Who doesn’t like getting out and experiencing live outdoor entertainment? Well, in most cases, councils don’t and they tend to be the decision makers on events in public spaces. Post-covid would be ideal for live outdoor entertainment to return to Hitchin Town Centre. The market place offers the space and Hitchin does have plenty of local talent.
7. Vegan restaurant 3%
With plant-based food businesses, festivals, and pop-ups booming, it’s clear that veganism is become a global phenomenon. Because of this changing trend, some larger towns and cities can boast of vegan only restaurants. A Hitchin vegan restaurant could become a reality soon as the demand is clearly there.
6. Independent book store 5%
Picking up 5% of votes, an independent Hitchin book store would probably struggle given that Waterstones is positioned in such a good place but Waterstones itself is currently in a battle online giant Amazon. Independent book stores tend to be more quirky and with the right ‘keeper of books’ behind the till, the experience of buying a book in person is a lot more rewarding than hear the thud of delivery hitting the passage floor.
For the remaining things missing in Hitchin, watch our video below and don’t forget to subscribe.
Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project is back for 2022
Returning for the first time since 2019, this year sees the return of Wycombe Swan’s Summer Youth Project. Running since 1993, numerous participants have gone on to have successful careers both on and off stage. Join us on our next adventure! Build confidence, develop skills, have fun, and make long-lasting friendships.
About Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project (SYP)
Over the two-week project, Wycombe Swan comes alive to the sights and sounds of 150 young people doing everything they can to put on a full-scale musical in time for curtain up!
Participants have the option of taking to the stage as a performer, or to make magic happen as part of the Technical Team.
All performances take place on our main stage in the 1,000 seated Wycombe Swan Theatre.
Only those wishing to have a principal/speaking role or be a dance captain need to audition.
Big Fish The Show
This year, the show is BIG FISH. Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton.
AUDITIONS (FOR THOSE WISHING TO HAVE A SPEAKING ROLE): Sunday 22 May
DATES: Mon 15 to Sunday 28 August
AGES: 9-21 (performers). 14-21 (technical team)
It is our wish that no young person misses out due to financial constraints. For this reason, we offer bursaries of up to 100% so that anybody can take part.
TO APPLY, AND FOR MORE INFO: Visit https://wycombeswan.co.uk/Online/summerproject
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday 13 May
The Chequers in Woolmer Green reopens after refurbishment
Wells & Co’s Hertfordshire based pub, The Chequers, is opening its doors after an extensive refurbishment. Completed works include an entirely refreshed bar and dining area, redecorated throughout to create a modern and chic look and feel to the pub located in the civil parish village of Woolmer Green. The cosy interior boasts an intimate lounge area, large dining area and an extensive garden makeover inclusive of heated spaces and high table fire pits, perfect for those late-Summer evenings.
Upstairs has been reconfigured to make room for four en-suite bedrooms for guests to book, as well as a private dining room holding up to 20 people. The new dining room is perfect for all event needs, whether its a private party, private function or even to host a work meeting.
The updated food menu features seasonal and fresh dishes inclusive of much loved pub classics like fish and chips or the ever popular 21-day aged beef burger, where the team will also be donating 25p of every burger sold to local primary school St Michael’s. Aloingside the classics the full dining menu at The Chequers includes more indulgent dishes such as cajun sweet potato, okra, and black-eyed pea gumbo, wild porcini mushroom, truffle and ricotta filled mezzaluna pasta and new daily specials.
There is also a great new range of drinks behind the bar including a range of tasty Brewpoint beers brewed just down the road in Bedford, as well as a full wine and spirits list for guests to enjoy.
Greg Knox, General Manager for the Wells & Co. site said, “The Chequers has, quite simply put, been a transformational refurbishment. The pub is ready, our food is prepped, drinks will be flowing, and our team are on hand to welcome the people of Woolmer Green and beyond, back to their much-loved pub. I can’t wait to personally welcome everyone back.”
To book a room or table at The Chequers visit the website here: https://chequerswoolmergreen.co.uk/
Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory line up has been confirmed
After a two year break, Rock in the Priory 2022 is back and will be at its usual location on the Priory Island on Sunday, 17th July.
Showcase auditions were held at Southern Maltings on the April 10th and helped determine the line-up for the main event. The organisers are grateful to all the musicians who came along to perform.
The high standard of performances made the selection process difficult. The seven bands and three acoustic acts who will be entertaining the crowds on July 17th are listed below.
Quivering Lip are a two-piece originals and cover band playing rock and brit pop anthems. Quivering Lip wrote and recorded their first 5 track album Generation Panic in 2018, following it up with a new release “Ashes” in April 2019.
Uptown Punk are a high energy, 5-piece pop/punk band, covering fan favourites from 90s to present. Their set is full of well known pop/punk tunes, with a bit of Rock thrown in. Artists covered include; Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Sum 41 and many more.
Grace is a singer, pianist and songwriter based in Hertfordshire specialising in acoustic pop, golden oldies, jazz and much more. Take a moment to listen/watch her Thinking Out Loud cover.
Other artists performing at Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory include Adam Fearn, Mr No Face, Back to the 50s, George Croucher, Junkyard Dolls, Second Bite, The Routine.
Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory
The last Rock in the Priory was held in 2019. This annual event is known for its excellent atmosphere and energy. It takes place in the unique setting of the Island bandstand, nestled within seven acres of picturesque riverside gardens of the 14th century Ware Priory building. Tickets in advance are £5 entry or a family ticket at £15 for two adults and up to four children. Further details about Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory can be found on rockinthepriory.co.uk