Change needed

PUBLISHED: 11:57 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 May 2010

I refer to last week s front page article on the proposed redevelopment of Letchworth Town Centre and in particular Terry Cox s 100 per cent opposition to the plans. As a very long term resident of the Garden City, this saddens and disappoints me greatly.

I refer to last week's front page article on the proposed redevelopment of Letchworth Town Centre and in particular Terry Cox's 100 per cent opposition to the plans. As a very long term resident of the Garden City, this saddens and disappoints me greatly.

Most people, residents and traders included, will I feel, agree that something has to be done to revitalise the town and bring it into the 21st Century and beyond. We now have a one-off chance to invest in the future.

It is surely not a good idea just to do a cosmetic job on the town but - as is planned - to use the layout and existing features to give a feeling of rebirth as well as revitalisation. For this reason £60m has been allocated to achieve this.

Ebenezer Howard was unique to his age and he gave us the First Garden City. There are not many parts of the world these days where the town is unheard of and quoted as an example of all that is desirable as a place in which to live and work.

Mr Cox and his fellow traders are business people, with books to balance and profits to make. I would urge them not to take a narrow, short-term view of the future and shy away from the challenge and excitement of seeing a town grow in stature and success. There is no reason why any business should suffer from the project especially if they work with the Heritage Foundation towards a solution to their possible worries.

Mr Cox has a successful, popular fish and chip shop. I feel sure he is an astute businessman and I have no doubt that wherever he chooses to site his business he would always have a ready band of customers - possibly a new and even better location in the town would see an increase in profits.

If the traders must put in an advertisement inviting comments on the proposed development, I hope that those reading or responding to it will be able to visualise the Letchworth of tomorrow, a town to be proud of, maintaining its tradition but at the same time taking advantage of all that is good in town planning, development and in the end future prosperity for traders and residents alike.

Ena Boylett, Wheat Hill, Letchworth Garden City

* There are aspects regarding the development of Letchworth Town Centre that I find particularly worrying.

* The proposed licensing scheme for signage and pavement trading which may result in punitive charges for our hard pressed traders.

* The Heritage Foundation's proposal to alter the layout of Eastcheap to accommodate more cars, thereby reducing the width of pavements, which will result in more space for cars and less for people and traders.

* The Heritage Foundation's proposal to compulsorily purchase thriving local businesses in order to increase their own profits.

* The Heritage Foundation's proposal for more town centre living without quantifying how many car parking spaces will be allocated to the flats. It is estimated that if proposals for 40 degree parking go ahead, Eastcheap will have another 10 spaces - overall will this really make a positive difference? An answer is needed.

* How green will this £60 million redevelopment be? Will the Heritage Foundation just be meeting Government Standards or will they give us a town centre that meets the needs of the 21st Century.

I truly believe that much of Letchworth is looking tired and jaded at the moment and is in need of a major uplift. However, if this redevelopment is to be of any real social, as opposed to purely economic value, we must put imagination before investment, and people before profits. It was imagination; a pioneering spirit and adherence to social values that made Letchworth the First Garden City and it would be entirely appropriate now to make us a truly green town. We have a chance to remain unique, but only if we go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate our priorities.

JULIA WINTER, Howard Drive, Letchworth Garden City

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