Present plans are among worst yet

I read with amusement and some incredulity your recent report on the proceeding of the NHDC Planning Committee s deliberations over the redevelopment at Paynes Park. Our elected representatives obviously have the best interests of Hitchin in mind but if y

I read with amusement and some incredulity your recent report on the proceeding of the NHDC Planning Committee's deliberations over the redevelopment at Paynes Park.

Our elected representatives obviously have the best interests of Hitchin in mind but if your report was accurate equally obviously they have attended the Vikki Pollard "Yeah.. but, no...but, yeah...but" school of debating.

To give as a reason for passing these plans, which are so out of keeping with the surrounding area, that various specialists who are not opposed to the plans (ie, work for the developer?) would not be available to attend a later meeting was pretty feeble. And to state that if permission was delayed then a worse development might go through on appeal beggars belief. It would be jolly difficult for anything worse than that presently proposed to be conceived as an alternative.

I have known Hitchin for getting on for 65 years. Few, if any, of the developments I have witnessed being built over the years have enhanced or been in keeping with the vernacular of this once fine old market town. The present plans for Paynes Park must surely rank as some of the worst though.


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There should be no need for our councillors to debate a suitable name for the development they have so shamelessly passed.

Billingsgate will do nicely. It smells of stinking fish.

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ROBERT SUNDERLAND, Little Wymondley

* So, that which I have believed for many years now seems to be openly obvious: important council decisions are no longer made by the elected members. Additional to Central Government forcing their decisions on the council, it is those who are employed to carry out the wishes of the council, or act only as advisers, such as architectural experts, and others with their own vested interests, who have now virtually blackmailed the councillors over the proposed planning application for the development of the vacated areas recently occupied by Brookers, Suzuki and Peter Fish premises.

A similar argument seems to have been used as the one given as to why the council drew up plans to redevelop Churchgate: it was said at the time that had they not done so before the lease holders Hammersmatch were approached, others could have come in with plans that the council planning officer might have been obliged to accept. Now the threat has been that if the current application had been rejected the council could be faced with an unattractive application in the future that would be difficult to turn down. Why should a future development application be any more difficult to turn down if, as with the current one, it is not acceptable?

Who runs the council? And why do we pay councillors to vote, against their better judgement, for the advancement of this particular development of unattractive 'dwelling cramming' - unless, of course, the plans have been drastically and beneficially revised?

IVAN MARTIN, The Limes, Hitchin

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