May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Gill
Thursday, May 10, 2012
TWO business owners fear for their companies’ futures amid plans to redevelop Letchworth GC town centre.
Children’s indoor play area Tumble Tent and the Green House Community Market could both be without a premises if plans for the redevelopment of The Wynd go ahead following a final consultation which ends next month.
The current proposals earmark the building formerly known at The Gallery, in which both businesses are housed, to be redeveloped for use as a hotel or residential homes.
The plans, compiled by independent company Allies and Morrison Urban Practioners on behalf of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, are based on a garden centre theme and entitled The Wynd Village.
Tumble Tent owner Tracey Duxbury has run the indoor play area for children up to five-years-old since December 2010.
“The Heritage Foundation are looking for alternatives for me and have come up with a couple of options which we’re going to look at but the main problem is the prices of the rent,” she said.
“I take special needs sessions and community groups - it’s not run just as a business but a community business venture. If we took on somewhere bigger I’d have to expand, put the prices up and take on older children. Even then that might not work and it would be going against the ethos which I have here.”
Ms Duxbury acknowledged that when starting up the business the Heritage Foundation were under no obligation to rehouse them once long-term plans were established.
She added: “I don’t disagree with the plans if I am just looking at it as a resident of Letchworth but the mums of Letchworth face losing the only indoor play area for their children.”
Relaying the news to her customers on Facebook, Jenny Jones, owner of the Green House Community Market, said: “Letchworth and Hitchin area visitors have probably heard we and Tumble Tent are being demolished to build a hotel? We have only had nine months to make the Green House a success in a ‘double dip recession’ with no funding and no promotional help from local powerholders.
“Now we have furnished the Green House with a kitchen and furniture to allow us to establish our training and auctions so we would like a bit more time Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation please!”
Adrian Brace, director of property for the Heritage Foundation, said: “The preferred option for The Wynd, which is still subject to consultation, proposes The Gallery building being redeveloped for a hotel or residential purposes, with The Wynd units retained. The Gallery was shown to be redeveloped in each of the options in the previous consultation last year, with proposals for various uses.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their feedback so far and would encourage anyone who wishes to share their views and ideas on the consultation to visit our public exhibition at The Community Hub, 43 Station Road, Letchworth, which runs until Friday, June 8, or join the online discussion at www.thenextsteps.co.uk”