Building for the future

PUBLISHED: 11:16 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

Mrs Hull (Worrying Plans - The Comet, February 2) has a tilt at a few disparate windmills. As regards our Town Centre revitalisation plans, our present Museum is much too small to do justice to the story of Letchworth Garden City, hence the need for mor

Mrs Hull (Worrying Plans - The Comet, February 2) has a tilt at a few disparate windmills.

As regards our Town Centre revitalisation plans, our present Museum is much too small to do justice to the story of Letchworth Garden City, hence the need for more space and the Town Hall would be a splendidly appropriate location.

As regards accommodation for the Letchworth Garden City Council, my understanding is that their ambitions lie in a different location, hardly surprising given most people's expectations regarding the council's accommodation requirements and the size of the Town Hall.

I agree with Mrs Hull that a common theme of Government edicts these days is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but if to achieve that the Heritage Foundation has to stand back and let Letchworth Garden City town centre die on its feet, then frankly we find that a bridge too far.

Mrs Hull's comments regarding our farming practices require putting into context, because some very big nails are hit not quite on the head. Firstly, we make a point of selling crops into UK markets and as locally as possible, eg, to Shredded Wheat in Welwyn, Morning Foods in Bedford, Marstons in Thetford and Bowmans in Ickleford. This reduces food miles, our oilseed rape is produced to make bio-fuel, helping the Government to reach its 5% inclusion rate by 2010. We are increasing our cattle herd, resulting in more manure and, in turn, creating less reliance on inorganic fertiliser. We hope to be able to sell beef, pork, and lamb into the local Letchworth market place in the not too distant future.

UK-wide, traces of pesticides in water have fallen to the lowest levels in 10 years through a framework of directives called The Voluntary Initiative, which Letchworth Garden City farms has signed up to.

Mrs Hull has long argued in favour of organic farming. However, this requires a rotation inclusive of grass. Fencing in all of Letchworth Garden City farms' fields to the standard required to prevent livestock escape and prevent local youths cutting fences to use motorbikes on the land, would be cost prohibitive for the return gained from organic cereal production. Our soil types are not suitable for vegetable or root crop production.

Finally, the farm buildings we have converted to housing have had no impact whatsoever on our farming practice. We have a fine set of buildings which can store up to 5,000 tonnes of crop. The buildings that we have converted were no longer suitable, or could not have been adapted for modern farming use.

My excellent Rural Estates Manager, Matt Broadhurst, would be delighted to meet Mrs Hull, face-to-face, to discuss these matters in more depth than a simple economist such as I ever could.

STUART M KENNY, Director General, Heritage Foundation, Letchworth Garden City

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