While we won’t look back on the lockdown periods fondly, there have been some elements of life that have thrived or prospered during this time. We all hope the sense of community spirit, and the heightened sense of looking out for others remains in place.
In Hitchin, there are also practical issues to consider. Outdoor dining in the town centre has been one of the few bright spots in recent times. Residents are being asked if they wish the outdoor dining square to remain as we move forward.
The lockdown period was extremely damaging for bars and restaurants, which is why the outdoor dining experience was welcomed. There was a European sense of style and flair added to the local area, with people having the chance to dine in an el-fresco style with friends and family members.
Should everyone return to dining indoors?
With indoor dining an option again, there is a choice to be made. The local council is keen to know if residents are interested in the outside dining option remaining in place in the longer term. It appears as though many local businesses are in favour of the outside dining options remaining in place.
Kim Maclarty is a deli owner in Hitchin, and Kim spoke to ITV saying; “I don't think people are going to be comfortable suddenly being crammed back indoors again just because they've been told they can. For us, outdoor dining is half of our revenue at the moment so I think it's critical to keep this going as long as we possibly can.”
The town centre manager, Tom Hardy, has also shared his thoughts on outdoor dining remaining in place in Hitchin. Tom said; “It's been really successful and even though many businesses have reopened indoors, they are still finding that they're getting great feedback from customers. People like being outside, especially when the weather is good. They like having that al fresco experience.”
Have your say on what happens next in Hitchin
A public consultation is underway to determine if residents would prefer to revert to the pre-COVID setup or whether the pedestrianised and pavement friendly layout in place now is more appealing.
Cllr Phil Bibby said; “There's a link on the council website to a survey so that we can get people's views on this. Some people like it, some people don't so we really need to get all opinions before we decide how to move forward. Then we will speak to councillors about what they think as well because we really want to get this right.”
Some quarters have long argued that a café-culture in Hitchin will be of benefit to the area, and this could be the perfect opportunity to bring it to life on a full-time basis. A more engaging town centre is not only good for people, it will boost the housing market.
With a thriving and pleasant town centre, there is greater demand for homes in the area, and hopefully the local economy will receive a pick-me-up too. In this regard, adopting a permanent outdoor dining experience in Hitchin could have a considerable range of benefits.
Currently, in line with Government guidelines, our Hitchin branch is open and our sales and lettings team are on hand to assist you. To clients old and new, if you have any queries or need advice on property sales and lettings then please call 01462 452951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.