Concerns at housing plan

PUBLISHED: 11:39 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:17 06 May 2010

Due to concerns expressed at its meeting on May 31, Letchworth Garden City Council will hold a public meeting at the former Elim Church, Icknield Way, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, June 13 to consider North Herts Homes proposals to demolish the homes of the resid

Due to concerns expressed at its meeting on May 31, Letchworth Garden City Council will hold a public meeting at the former Elim Church, Icknield Way, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, June 13 to consider North Herts Homes proposals to demolish the homes of the residents in Highover Road and Campfield Way and to redevelop the area to a higher density.

It is deplorable that North Herts Homes refused an invitation from the council to discuss the matter, which can only lead to speculation that they are hiding something.

Although my request to North Herts Homes for information also proved fruitless I have trawled through their information (from other sources) and that from the residents. From this and visits to many of the bungalows my personal views are.

1. North Herts Homes could be trying to hide their agenda, which is to make a substantial gain in a land grab for the sake of a high-density development while ignoring the following.

2. Their claim that there is no satisfactory way to refurbish these properties therefore they need to be demolished is unsustainable.

Firstly, there are other examples elsewhere where other councils have successfully carried out refurbishment on this exact dwelling type (not that they need it, or to be spoilt).

Secondly, expert surveys commissioned by the residents and North Herts Homes do not conclude that demolition is necessary and only found a few minor defects, being far less than would be found in most of the more modern homes in Letchworth Garden City.

Thirdly, the local Conservation Area was extended to include the environmental and historical virtues and character of these dwellings. As the North Herts District Council retiring planning officer said at our recent annual meeting there is therefore a presumption against demolition and NHDC could thus hardly approve a planning application to do so.

These proposals may not effect where you live but as residents in our town they affect us all and the need to stand up and be counted to protect unique historical and conservation areas from the real agendas of property developers.

RAYMOND SMALE, Croft Lane, Letchworth

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