Where to avoid Letchworth/Hitchin?

(15 Posts)
Luna2013 Mon 07-Mar-16 20:40:19

Hi all!

I'm relocating to the Letchworth/Hitchin area. However I don't know the area at all, it will be myself, my partner and my two year old daughter moving. Can anyone tell me which areas I should avoid if any? I am also looking for areas with good nursery/ primary schools nearby.

Many thanks in advance!

Earhat Thu 10-Mar-16 09:35:57

Hi, where are you relocating from? Both Letchworth and Hitchin are lovely places to bring up a small child. We have a two year old daughter as well and we are busy looking at schools in both towns as we live near both. Hitchin is a pretty market town with lots of nice shops and cafes. Letchworth is very green with chocolate box houses and a nature reserve which has a lido, tennis courts and lots of wildlife. We moved from London and so neither really has any undesirable areas in comparison. In Letchworth I would choose somewhere near Norton Common and go West in Hitchin but both towns are small so this is like choosing the window seat in a nice restaurant. Schools wise Letchworth has Norton Primary which is a good state school or St Francis which is in top 100 independent schools in the UK as well as Saint Christophers which both have nursery entry. Hitchin has a number of good/outstanding state primary schools but they are all oversubscribed so I would call headteachers and ask advice on catchment area and admissions policy. Hitchin also has Kingshott independent school. Both towns have fast trains to London and Cambridge - we use both stations. You currently get more for your money in Letchworth but that is fast changing as people find out about the fast train link into London which is relatively recent, and since the publicity surrounding garden cities. As someone who moved from London a few years ago I have to say they both have their merits and they are only 10 mins apart in the car. Both have plenty of child care facilities. Hope this helps a bit - we love the area. X

Yumbayumba1 Sat 12-Mar-16 21:04:27

Letchworth and Hitchin are very different in my opinion and the opinion of everyone I know who lives in either.

Letchworth is a garden city and was originally quaker town. Hitchin is much older and has far more history.

Letchworth house prices are far lower as it's not as nice. (They certainly are notching up! ) It is greener however it is spoiled by the many council estates - The Grange, Jackmans, Westhill, Wilbury etc. Most of these are in blackspots for deprivation in Hertfordshire. As a result of this most of the schools in Letchworth are appalling and either in Special measures of Require improvement. The town is dead, the shops are all pound shops or cash for gold shops and most of the people walking round look like they are straight out of benefits street. It's a shame as some of the roads like The Broadway have beautiful houses. In essence there isn't a great deal of character or soul to Letchworth and the town is a dump.

Hitchin isn't comparable. Hitchin has 23 minute trains and is a beautiful old market town with lots of Georgian and Tudor buildings. It's one of the few places in the country with a proper cobbled market square. There is an abundance of shops, restaurants and cafes. It has a very affluent feel ( mini St Albans ) but nicer as smaller and prettier.

There is a great sense of community in Hitchin and everyone loves living here. There are farmers markets, food festivals, street food etc etc, always something going on. Nicest part is the South side which is within walking distance of the town, station but also backs onto Gosmore and open countryside. The west side is nice too but you need to make sure you are in the SG4 9 postcode or you won't be in the catchment for the Girls and Boys schools which are both outstanding.

All the people I know who live in Letchworth think its very run down and spend all their free time in Hitchin - they wish they lived in Hitchin but are priced out as houses are far more expensive ( St Albans prices ) and houses in Letchworth don't sell.

TeelaBrown Sun 27-Mar-16 21:09:22

Crikey. Don't know much about Letchworth, but on the couple of occassions I have visited, it's not quite the no-go area described above. I think Highfield School on the east side of the town is one of the preferred ones.

I live in a village just outside Hitchin, it's a great town for families, lacking one or two shops, but there are retail parks in nearby Stevenage and a John Lewis in Welwyn that cover most of our needs. In terms of areas, The South and West sides of the town are considered the nicer bits. People traditionally avoid Westmill estate in the North West and the performance of the primary schools around there kind of reflect that. Purwell area also is less desirable but has a primary school rated 'good' by Ofsted (up to you how you interpret Ofsted!) Poets Estate is a bit run down in places and further from town, but the more northerly streets are convenient for the station.

The 'SG4 9' postcode myth is kind of put about by estate agents but doesn't really reflect how admissions for HGS and HBS operate. For example, I am in SG4 7 and very likely to get a place as would many in SG4 0 and SG5 1 postcodes. Because of primary oversubscription, there are actually SG4 9 postcodes that are primary deadzones and would end up being sent to Purwell or North Hitchin, but this might improve with the expansion of William Ransom in 2016. Be very careful if state school catchments matter and I recommend the Herts School Guru website for advice.

TeelaBrown Sun 27-Mar-16 21:10:04

Sorry, Highfield school is on the West side of Letchworth.

SoConfused15 Sun 27-Mar-16 21:26:21

Wow, that's a bit of a harsh post about Letchworth upthread! Certainly at the upper end of the market there are plenty of lovely leafy streets and houses. Hitchin town centre is nicer but is only minutes away from Letchworth anyway. I hear that the state secondary schools in Letchworth are on the up. The independent schools in Letchworth are very good. We have one DC at St Chris which is wonderful. Other pluses for Letchworth: the Broadway independent cinema, the fab outdoor pool, Standalone Farm, and Norton common. Hitchin is great too but thought Letchworth needed a bit of support!

RRLet Fri 01-Apr-16 13:30:02

Love Letchworth! Lots going on especially for families. Open space - Norton Common, fabulous paddling pool at Howard Park. The estates above being deprecation black spots? I don't think so!!
Cant really comment on Hitchin as hardly ever go there...Letchworth is plenty good enough for us!! Although I have friends in Hitchin who like it, so I am sure it would be fine too.

natcat7000 Fri 08-Apr-16 15:06:28

Another one here to defend Letchworth!

I have to say originally, after moving to Herts from London, I preferred Hitchin. We rented a flat in Hitchin for a few months while looking to buy something. I still do like Hitchin for the range of shops however for raising a family, Letchworth is particularly good.

There's more green space. I live near Norton Common (outdoor pool/playground/tennis/trails), the Howard water park and the greenway which surrounds LGC. My house is one of the oldest cottages they first built in Letchworth and it has a very good size garden (which is important when you have kids). The ethos of the garden city is that everyone have space to grow their own food. The thing about Hitchin houses is that many of them were built on a smaller scale and the gardens can be small. So you are paying a large premium for a smaller house.

Trains to Kings Cross are quick and they have added some non-stoppers at peak times.

The town centre of Letchworth is starting to improve, finally! Not sure what town planning did wrong but they messed up big time. I am seeing improvement though. There are loads of people buying in Letchworth because they can't afford Hitchin so this will help. When I first moved here, I couldn't figure it out. There was such a disparity between the well off (just check out the massive houses on The Broadway) and the not so well off. The posh didn't seem to shop in the town at all. They've got a new person on the council working specifically on tarting things up a bit and I wish them well because LGC has great bones and it deserves better.

I have some good friends in Hitchin. However, have to say Hitchin does have a 'up it's own bum' side to it which can grate a bit. Letchworth just gets on with it.

TwinkleCrinkle Thu 21-Apr-16 01:16:04

TeelaBrown can I ask which areas of SG4 9 are primary deadzones? We are currently very close to William Ransom but considering moving but I am worried where we might end up for primaries.
Sorry to derail!

LetchworthHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 22:50:36

Letchworth is perfectly nice and the schools are on the up. I have a DC at one of the less desirable schools (Icknield) and his teachers have been amazing.

There's not as much nightlife/bars/restaurants as Hitchin but it has changed for the better over the last 6 years I've been living here. I'd like a nicer house on a nicer street but if I had the money to move I'd be staying in Letchworth.

INat Mon 25-Apr-16 18:43:14

We lived in Hitchin for several years before moving to Letchworth about three years ago. The previous review may sound harsh but there is a big part of truth in it. The only reason we moved here because we bought a house which is much bigger and better than what we could get for the same money in Hitchin. Train connections to London and Cambridge are good from both Hitchin and Letchworth. Letchworth is very green and there are very good places for kids like Norton common, Standalone farm, Howard park, outdoor pool. However, when we go out, even if I just want to spend time on a playground and walk around the town, we go to Hitchin. The good thing is it is only 15 mins drive or 5 mins by train. Schools in Letchworth are not good, however, I know that many children from Letchworth study in Hitchin schools.

INat Mon 25-Apr-16 18:45:46

Regarding the nurseries, Busy Bees in Letchworth is 5 mins away from the train station and it is Ofstead outstanding.

DailyMaui Tue 03-May-16 23:20:00

I live in Hitchin 😃

It's a fab place to live and I would choose it over letchworth any day. There are perceived better places to live in the town but that's a traditional thing because of the catchments for HBS / HGS which are not only ofsted outstanding but really great schools imho (have personal sxperience) However there aren't any bad schools in Hitchin and the town is a lovely chilled place to live and bring up children. My favourite thing is that it is so walkable - walk to great restaurants/pubs/music venues/independent shops/market/countryside/numerous supermarkets. It really does make for a lovely way of life.

drawohamme Fri 06-May-16 10:11:54


I live in Hitchin too. Just to add to what everyone else is saying; go and check out the nurseries and get your DD's name down asap. Although most of them are good or great, they are massively oversubscribed.

Give us a shout when you get here, my DS and I are always looking for new playmates smile

FieldWalker Fri 06-May-16 10:21:16

I think the west side of town is better. Off street parking, bigger gardens. Easy access to the greenway and wymondly woods. close to the station. More of a rural rather than suburban feel.

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