Develop for a better future
PUBLISHED: 17:04 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010
SIR - I read your report (Comet August 7) about the former Letchworth power station site in Works Road with mixed feelings. Positive in that it is to be developed, and the proposed offices and industrial units will likely attract new business and jobs to
SIR - I read your report (Comet August 7) about the former Letchworth power station site in Works Road with mixed feelings. Positive in that it is to be developed, and the proposed offices and industrial units will likely attract new business and jobs to Letchworth. Less positive, in fact disappointed, that it is to be more of the same 1990s thinking which is about development for profit rather than for the good of the future.
When participating in a recent land allocation exercise by NHDC, as a member of the town council, it was clear to me that an overall strategy rather than individual site by site approach would not only be better but more productive for the town as a whole. I personally earmarked this site, with its proximity to the town centre and to the railway, as well as relatively easy road access from the north and east of the town, as ideal for a park and ride scheme for both the shoppers attracted to the redeveloped town centre and the daily rail commuters who have such a problem parking. It would, I surmised, even have been possible to devise some clever link direct to the station along the railway.
Alternatively, it would have been ideal for the radical and clean domestic waste disposal facility I have banged on about for the last couple of years - the one that would reduce the cost of both collection and disposal by about 60 per cent, be entirely self-sufficient for power (in fact produce surplus power to sell) and reduce landfill at a stroke down to 10-15 per cent of the total rather than the somewhat unambitious and future targets set presently.
But I am only a town councillor, ie, we are planning consultees rather than decision makers, and anyway, this is not part of the government of Letchworth or North Herts but the development of a property by those who own it.
So, good that a buyer has been found who intends to put it to use - bad, in my opinion - that it has to be such an unimaginative and un-consulted scheme, considered in isolation.
SIR - It is revealed in the letters page that Letchworth Heritage Foundation is not a council but a private company.
Why, then, has it a say in planning permission? I can quite see where properties are leasehold and part of the original Garden City, but if it has released the lease to private ownership it has also released any control as regards planning permission too. This two tier planning permission is going against the Government's intent to change the planning laws. There are many properties which are more modern in design and not quite in the original design. The Foundation is hell bent on changing the town centre but is very limited in its flexibility to houseowners' desires to improve their property.
Letchworth Garden City