I was astonished to read in your newspaper last week that Letchworth Garden City Council voted unanimously to spend our money on investigating whether Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation should be stripped of its right to decide planning applicati
I was astonished to read in your newspaper last week that Letchworth Garden City Council voted unanimously to spend our money on investigating whether Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation should be stripped of its right to decide 'planning applications' under its Scheme of Management.
The council was set up in 2005 following a referendum and reflected a strong feeling in our town that the Foundation is not sufficiently responsive to citizens' views. I believe that feeling is produced by the rather undemocratic set-up in the Foundation, where all major decisions are taken by only seven governors out of the 30. Moreover, 14 of the 30 are simply appointed by the seven! The main problem is that only six of the 30 are directly elected by us townspeople.
The spark which ignited the campaign to have a Garden City council was the Foundation's plans to develop for residential purposes the buildings and general farmyard of Paynes Farm in Croft Lane, which greatly upset many townspeople, such as Mr Raymond Smale, a nearby resident who led the campaign.
It astonishes me that, unless all of the councillors on the Garden City council are blinded by rejection of the Foundation and all its works, they should even consider concentrating decision-making on North Hertfordshire District Council whose decisions are appealable to inspectors controlled by government ministers and a parliament insisting upon a density of development totally contrary to Garden City principles.
Those councillors should talk to the many people in Hitchin desperately fighting to retain the characters of parts of Hitchin against developers who simply buy up one or more houses with large gardens and replace them with blocks of flats. How many flats might an inspector allow in place of one or more of those very nice properties along Croft Lane?
So, Letchworthians, please beg your town councillors, whose address and telephone number details cannot be obtained from their website www.letch worthgardencity-council.org.uk, not to waste our money on possibly destroying a management scheme which could replace 'town planning' by 'town cramming' for our Garden City. Their time and our money would be better spent on campaigning to have most or all of the Foundation governors directly elected by us townspeople and empowered to take major decisions for our Garden City.
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ANTHONY BURROWS, Pixmore Way, Letchworth Garden City