Preserving our heritage

Louise McEvoy s article in last week s Comet warns of an impending planning battle with Letchworth Town Council s forthcoming investigation into the fairness of residential planning controls in the world s first Garden City. While I hesitate to challenge

Louise McEvoy's article in last week's Comet warns of an impending planning battle with Letchworth Town Council's forthcoming investigation into the fairness of residential planning controls in the world's first Garden City.

While I hesitate to challenge the underlying reasons why the town council seek to initiate this investigation, I feel that residents, of whom I am one, should look at the broader picture of the existing scheme.

An old adage reminds us that our home is our castle and it is only human nature to seek to defend, improve, adapt and do whatever we feel we have a right to do as homeowners. However, I would suggest that we in our Garden City are not like other homeowners. We are fortunate to reside in a unique creation of a man whose forward thinking has stood the test of time for over a hundred years. His work is acknowledged worldwide and we as residents should be proud to be part of his dream and accomplishment.

I understand the frustration of residents who had hoped that their planning changes would not present a problem or be rejected. No-one likes a situation like that. Nevertheless this town is first and foremost a garden city, not a concrete jungle. Many families have the nightmare of finding off-road car-parking and some have entirely tarmacked their front gardens in an effort to solve this problem. I suggest that it is not unreasonable to compromise and have both garden and hard-paving which would be aesthetically pleasing and a practical solution all in one.

Ebenezer Howard's plan for the town was based on a theme, as indeed are many successful projects today. The design of windows, extensions and other improvements should ideally be within recognised guidelines to ensure a pleasing outcome which echoes the overall design and architecture of the Garden City. Otherwise we could be in danger of a mishmash of buildings with no real theme or continuity. As I see it, one of the tasks of the Heritage Foundation is to act as caretaker in these areas of work and I would hope that residents would choose to negotiate and discuss plans in order to secure a solution which is both satisfactory to both sides. Often compromise can turn out to be an acceptable result.

ENA BOYLETT, Address supplied

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