Working to development

Mr Shah (Keeping their agreements – Comet, February 7) continues to mislead the public with regard to how the Heritage Foundation is progressing its town centre revitalisation plans. From the outset, the Foundation made it clear that retaining existing in

Mr Shah (Keeping their agreements - Comet, February 7) continues to mislead the public with regard to how the Heritage Foundation is progressing its town centre revitalisation plans.

From the outset, the Foundation made it clear that retaining existing independent retailers, and, indeed, supplementing the existing speciality retail offer was a key strut of its town centre regeneration strategy. That remains our policy.

Before and since submitting the planning applications in respect of The Wynd and streetscene proposals, the Foundation has been working with tenants in The Wynd, Station Road, Leys Avenue and Norton Way South affected by the proposals, concentrating, first, on those with "rights" but also, now, those whose property interests do not need to be acquired because they terminate in advance of when the Foundation needs possession of the properties.

The position at present is that we have acquired 41 out of the 96 property interests we need. Solicitors have been instructed in respect of a further seven. Of the remaining 48 interests, we are in detailed discussions with 36; 16 involve relocation, where specific properties have been offered, and 20 do not. We are, therefore, still seeking relocation opportunities for 12. By any stretch of the imagination, that represents substantial progress, in advance of planning consent being secured.

In conclusion, can I thank those businesses and individuals who are working with us to help create a vibrant town centre. They recognise that there is a commonality of interest between their personal and business aspirations and those of the Foundation for the town centre.

STUART KENNY, Director General, Heritage Foundation, Letchworth Garden City