Hitchin Town Hall
Hitchin Town Hall is to become home to a North Herts Museum.
A £850,000 grant from the Community Builders' Fund will now allow plans for a multi-million pound refurbishment of the building to go ahead.
The funding will be used along with a £3.5million investment from North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) to create the Museum.
The plans will include a revitalised community space in the building for the people of Hitchin.
There will also be a café and catering facilities on site, while the extended gym area will be converted into a new North Herts museum.
The bringing together of Hitchin and Letchworth museums, on the Hitchin Town Hall site, is estimated to deliver annual savings of £160,000 a year to NHDC in running costs, as well as providing wide-scale benefits to the community.
Town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: "This is a major investment in the social fabric of Hitchin and a tribute to the true community partnership that is embodied in Hitchin Initiative.
"The Initiative is grateful to Councillors and Officers for their continued support, guidance and commitment to the project. The retention of a museum in Hitchin and the refurbishment of our major civic venue is excellent news for the community and for the economy of the town."
Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC's portfolio holder for community engagement and rural affairs, said: "This is fantastic news, not only for Hitchin but for the whole district. North Hertfordshire can now look forward to a new, modern museum while the community retains a superb venue for a wide range of activities. At the same time, the Council will reduce ongoing running costs for local taxpayers, an especially important factor given the current financial climate."
"Obviously there is a long way to go, but this was a crucial step forward for the project as a whole. I want to thank Hitchin Initiative and the other community groups we are working alongside for their efforts in putting the bid together. Now we can move on to the next phase, hopefully obtaining planning permission and listed building consent by the end of March 2011."