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PEOPLE who live in Letchworth GC pride themselves on the fact that their home has a pioneering history and it seems the town is at it again. Not content with being the world s first garden city and running a pioneering Cheap Cottages exhibition in 1905, L

PEOPLE who live in Letchworth GC pride themselves on the fact that their home has a pioneering history and it seems the town is at it again.

Not content with being the world's first garden city and running a pioneering Cheap Cottages exhibition in 1905, Letchworth GC is now running another housing design scheme.

This latest competition, entitled Tomorrow's Garden City, is along similar lines to the Cheap Cottages exhibition, in that architects from around the world are being invited to submit designs for houses.

Key among the criteria for these designs are that the houses should be available for sale or rent at affordable prices and that they must also have low annual running costs and generally be value for money.


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As house prices soar to figures that a few years ago we could only imagine in our wildest dreams (or nightmares), this idea seems very timely.

Generally new housing developments over a certain size are required to include some affordable housing but to actually ask someone to design houses with affordability in mind is a forward-thinking move.

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Currently any savings made on house building - getting as many units as humanly possible on the tiniest patch of land for example - go straight to the developers and nowhere near the homeowners.

Comet country is, whatever our feelings on the matter, going to expand and with ideas like this at least people in the area will be able to live without signing themselves up to 30 years of extortionate mortgage repayments.

The new scheme also requires the houses to be environmentally friendly, which gets a big thumbs-up from me.

Modern houses are too often thrown together with scant regard to sustainability.

Environmentally friendly homes are the preserve of the very few who can afford to take the time and consideration to have their own house built - the kind of people you see on the TV programme Grand Designs - or certain specialist eco communities.

But average Joes like you and I deserve access to this kind of housing as well and I'm delighted that at some point in the future, some lucky Letchworth GC residents will be able to live in green homes.

I've always been fond of Letchworth GC and I think with projects like this on the go, we should all feel pleased to have such a town in our area.

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