Good work on the Grange

I am sorry but I must correct Councillor Bloxham s version of events in respect of the Grange Rejuvenation Scheme. Here are the facts for the benefit of your readers. During 2005 the district council put forward a plan to build a Youth Activity Area (a ba

I am sorry but I must correct Councillor Bloxham's version of events in respect of the Grange Rejuvenation Scheme. Here are the facts for the benefit of your readers.

During 2005 the district council put forward a plan to build a Youth Activity Area (a basketball/five-a-side soccer court) in the centre of the Grange Estate, in fact on half of the current car park of the Pelican public house. I must stress that at this time there was no mention of any plans to rejuvenate or create a parkland area in the centre of the estate.

This original plan brought strong objections from the local community, feeling that such a facility in the close proximity to an old people's home, a church, a community centre and a public house was not an appropriate location. In consequence the protesters organised a petition signed by some 350 local residents. From comments made in the press by representatives of the NHDC and feeling that this quite significant local protest was being ignored by the district council, the leaders of the protest approached the city council Grange councillors asking for help. To ascertain the feelings of the local residents for itself, the city council arranged a public meeting held on September 11, 2005 at the Grange Community Centre which was attended by well over a hundred residents. As a result of this meeting and the overwhelming objections to this original plan the city council passed a resolution which stated that whilst supporting the district council's plans for a youth activity area, they felt the suggested location was inappropriate.

Subsequently the city councillors representing the Grange ward had a meeting with Dr Patrick Candler and Mr Steven Geech, both officers of the NHDC to discuss this issue. At this meeting city councillor Raymond Smale put forward the idea, supported by the other Grange councillors to do away with the under-used old car parks and garages at the rear of the Southfield shops, and create a pleasant parkland area with trees and seating for the residents. This plan included closing the centre of Pelican Way as a way to enhance the whole concept. Both the NHDC officers agreed this was an excellent idea worth pursuing.


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Later the NHDC commissioned Groundwork to carry out the work on this project and work on the centre of the estate began on February 20. The main planks of the present scheme, the closing of Pelican Way and the creation of a parkland area, originated from an idea put forward by a member of the city council, an idea which was clearly taken up by Groundwork.

Of course the financial cost of this project has been heavily dependent on monies from the Lottery, the NHDC, the Heritage Foundation and other sources including a proportionate amount from the city council. However in the future when residents are sitting in a pleasant parkland area or using the other facilities they should remember that without the effort and ideas originating from the city council it could have all been different.

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CHRIS HARLOW, Vice Chairman, Letchworth Garden City Council

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