Disquiet over development

PUBLISHED: 11:33 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 May 2010

I feel disquiet on several grounds regarding the Letchworth Garden City town centre regeneration proposals, the brainchild of the Director-General of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation who has chosen not to live here during his term of office.

I feel disquiet on several grounds regarding the Letchworth Garden City town centre regeneration proposals, the brainchild of the Director-General of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation who has chosen not to live here during his term of office.

Town centres in general mirror the size of the population, how can it therefore be realistic to compare that of Letchworth population approximately 34,000 with that of Stevenage 79,000 and Milton Keynes 217,000? Given that most town centres are at present considering renovation, where are the hoped-for new shoppers to come from and have enquiries been made of the large stores it is hoped to attract whether they would consider opening here?

With the health and comfort of shoppers in mind, most enlightened town and city centre authorities in the 21st Century are introducing pedestrianisation to encourage more town centre parking.

To utilise unused space above existing commercial premises as accommodation is one matter, but deliberately to introduce housing within the town centre is a very different matter, flouting as it does the main garden city principle of zoning. Given that the Heritage Foundation was recently instrumental in adding the words Garden City to the postal address, can this suggestion be regarded as honourable?

Lastly, the First Garden City is not sited within a vacuum but is part of North Herts and adjacent to south Beds, both of which environments are currently under threat. North Herts from massive building west of Stevenage, developers eyeing land adjacent to Hitchin and Stansted Airport expansion, with south Beds from a possible national nuclear waste repository at Elstow and Luton Airport expansion with accompanying infrastructure. Would it not therefore, be prudent to wait until the overall picture becomes clear before deciding to demolish a large part of Letchworth town centre?

GREEN PARTY MEMBER, NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

* There are two very popular shopping centres within our immediate area, Stevenage and Hitchin.

They both have different attractions. Stevenage, although not a particularly pretty town, has a huge number of shops which cater for everyone. Hitchin (Churchgate excepted of course) has more character than it knows how to cope with, making it a joy to just sit in, especially at one of the pavement cafés. It also has a wealth of good shops. Both town centres are always busy.

It would seem that our planners in Letchworth Garden City have not looked carefully at what attracts people. I am still aghast at the huge number of mature trees, which gave Letchworth its charm, that were destroyed in the name of progress. They plan to spend an awful lot of public money, but looking at the plans, I am not at all sure they're spending it wisely or in the public interest. If they do not give people what they want, the people will go elsewhere to get it.

ELAINE GRANT, Archers Way, Letchworth Garden City

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the The Comet

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists