Vision is needed

SIR – James Paddon (Letters, August 17) makes a valid observation regarding the non-representational survey on the Town Centre Development. One can certainly understand the concerns of businessmen such as Terry Cox. But what are the alternatives? The fine

SIR - James Paddon (Letters, August 17) makes a valid observation regarding the non-representational survey on the Town Centre Development. One can certainly understand the concerns of businessmen such as Terry Cox. But what are the alternatives? The fine architecture of the Morrisons store and the excellent refurbishment of the ICL building into Nexus, highlight to its detriment, the Arena Parade. It is out of step. Development will be needed eventually.

The Heritage proposal presents an ambitious opportunity. If Letchworth were to turn against this, the current decline of Letchworth's shopping 'attraction' may result in an irreversible slump, also affecting the Arena Parade.

Shopping today needs to be involving for all ages and tastes, with modernity and exciting goods. Letchworth visitors are put off by the street layout, lack of 'centre' and the absence of 'big-draw' stores. The new development addresses all these issues, with a vibrant central shopping complex.

Should Letchworth be lucky enough to be home to a progressive, ecological store such as John Lewis, an unprecedented product range would be available to local (and out-of-town) shoppers. Locally-managed outlets would benefit - a larger Cox's in the new piazza where customers could enjoy fish and chips and a wider range of fare?


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Relocation is not a welcome proposition. However, with a planned programme, adequate compensation and a suitable alternative, positive outcomes can result. My own business has moved four times in Letchworth since 1972, each time with great benefits to business and staff conditions. Once these positive possibilities are taken on board, the pill may seem smaller for the affected businesses.

A big issue is at stake here for Letchworth GC. We need a little vision and a willingness to allow our lovely town's shopping area to match its superb world-renowned housing. Therein lies security and business prosperity.

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TONY CARTER

Wilbury Way

Letchworth GC

SIR - Firstly I would like to make it clear that we are a family business trading in both Letchworth and Stevenage, so this email is two-pronged.

We sell good value,well priced goods in the mid to upper ranges appealing to most age groups and are sick of Stevenage being dismissed as a 'poor' town full of teenage single mothers. The town's population is, I understand, around 80,000 and its potential catchment area must be nearly a quarter of a million covering all age and financial groups.

Little seems to be done to attract better stores. The town centre management are apparently unable to put pressure on landlords to let their shops, perhaps the council could subsidise new business start-ups?

I'm sorry but having a child made to look like a cat in the Westgate Centre does not make an exciting shopping experience. We need a wider range of quality stores to keep Stevenage residents using the town centre.

On the subject of Letchworth's redevelopment plans, I agree wholeheartedly with the views of James Paddon (letters, August 17). Letchworth is a lovely, historic town, good to walk around and full of interesting shops, but it does need a shopping draw as James points out.

The Heritage Foundation is our landlord and my dealings with it lead me to believe that any development will be dealt with in a sympathetic manner reflecting the town's heritage and future.

The plans are not for today but a prosperous future for a growing town and area.

MAUREEN DAVISON

By email

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