Appeal for art to lift gloom in Letchworth GC

TWO businesses in The Gallery are appealing to Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to allow artists to brighten up their environment to lift the gloom. The Gallery is earmarked for demolition in 2011 as part of The Wynd redevelopment but the Founda

TWO businesses in The Gallery are appealing to Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to allow artists to brighten up their environment to lift the gloom.

The Gallery is earmarked for demolition in 2011 as part of The Wynd redevelopment but the Foundation had boarded up empty units surrounding the three remaining businesses.

Jo Provenzano who runs Patrick's Caf� Continental and Geraldine Ward at Tumble Tent say the Foundation carried out the work without consulting businesses.

They now want the Foundation to allow art students or even schools to be encouraged to go to The Gallery to paint murals on the wooden boards.


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"The place has become a bit like Beirut," said Mrs Ward.

"We are now just looking at a brick wall and boards which isn't very nice. It is horrid and not very inviting for people thinking of coming in here."

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Mrs Ward added: "It would be a great idea to allow young people from a local college to paint murals on the boards. I could become a community effort that would highlight what is still going on in The Gallery."

Mrs Provenzano said: "This has affected my trade because too many people never walk down here. They just see what the place is like and turn around and go away.

"I have been here for 18 years and boarding up of the empty units has made the place very depressing.

"The longer it goes on it will certainly affect my business more and not encourage people to come in to The Gallery.

"Painting murals on the boards might help and make people aware we are still here."

Stuart Kenny, director general of the Foundation, said: "In February 2010, the Heritage Foundation board agreed to the gradual closing down of The Gallery, as all the leases were coming to an end and we were unable to let any of the vacant units on a full lease basis, owing to the proposals for The Wynd development.

"We agreed the boarding up with planning officers of North Herts District Council and the Foundation's insurers, because of potential vandalism.

"We are happy for local artists to paint these boards, subject to the Foundation approving any designs in advance.

"Two of the existing tenants in the Gallery have said they would like to stay - a short term proposal is going to the board of the Foundation this month. The third tenant is in discussion to relocate to Eastcheap.

"All the units in The Gallery will be empty by March 1, 2011 and the entire area will then be boarded up, pending development.

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