Town plans will not be the answer

SIR - The whole point of the redevelopment of the Churchgate area is to do away with an unpopular architectural monstrosity that is unsympathetic to the buildings and layout of the surrounding area. Why is it then, that after eight years of debate over ho

SIR - The whole point of the redevelopment of the Churchgate area is to do away with an unpopular architectural monstrosity that is unsympathetic to the buildings and layout of the surrounding area. Why is it then, that after eight years of debate over how to proceed, the best idea so far is to replace the current eyesore with another one? One that looks remarkably similar to Arcade in Letchworth's Wynd, which incidentally is tagged for demolition.

It is unlikely that the proposed development will stand the test of time any better than the modernist facade we see today, which was thought fashionable and acceptable when it was built in 1971.

Are we to continually replace the arcade as and when architectural trends change?

The redevelopment of this area will cost millions, but more importantly, it is likely to cause great disruption to businesses in the immediate area.


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Therefore, North Herts District Council has a duty to make sure the decision they make is the right one. The townspeople and business owners will not want to go through this again in another 30 years just because the replacement no longer suits popular taste. With this in mind, does it not make sense to consider an architectural design that draws upon the Market Place's original charm? The beautiful surrounding buildings should be seen as an inspiration to the redevelopment, and not a constraint.

Ideally the replacement facade should reflect the quality of the older buildings in the materials, detailing and finishes used so that it ages elegantly and becomes a part of the town instead of becoming another ill-thought out embarrassment.

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I fail to see how the oversized bus shelter, shown as a computer-drawn image on last week's Hitchin front page, can possibly be backed by the focus group called Keep Hitchin Special. That in itself is utterly ironic.

Mrs CHARLOTTE

CAMFIELD-WALKER

Hitchin resident and shop owner

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